Western Kentucky Swim Team Suspended 5 Years After Hazing Allegations

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2015

The pool at the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala., is pictured Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. The NCAA says it will hold nearly a dozen championships at the sports complex in coming years. The sanctioning body announced Wednesday it will hold a series of both swimming and diving and track and field championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex starting in 2015. The city-owned facility is entering its third year in operation. It was honored by the American Sports Builders Association as the Indoor Track and Field Facility of the Year.(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Dave Martin/Associated Press

Western Kentucky University announced Tuesday that its swimming and diving program has been suspended for five years, effective immediately, after an investigation found violations related to hazing allegations brought by a former team member.  

The university's media director, Bob Skipper, passed along comments from director of athletics Todd Stewart about the reasoning for the decision.

"This is a very difficult and unfortunate decision on many levels," Stewart said. "While many in the program have represented WKU with distinction, the overall findings of a consistent pattern of disappointing conduct is troubling and not acceptable at WKU."

Skipper also noted any of the team's current student-athletes may immediately transfer to another program or remain at the school under scholarship through their senior year, assuming they remain in "good academic and university standing." The coaching positions will no longer be active as of June 30.

"We have high standards for student conduct and conduct of our student organizations," university president Gary Ransdell said, per Skipper's report. "The pervasive culture of misconduct in the swimming and diving program is intolerable. A five-year suspension is both necessary and prudent."

Trey Crumbie and Shelby Rogers of the WKU Herald reported on April 7 that a university-led Title IX investigation, in conjunction with one the Bowling Green Police Department conducted, found there were violations of policies regarding hazing, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Former swim team member Collin Craig originally filed a complaint with the police department back in January, according to the WKU Herald. Crumble and Rogers provided part of the ruling put forth by Title IX coordinator Huda Melky and Title IX deputy Joshua Hayes:

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The resulting hostile environment was created not only at 'the party house,' but within the team itself. This culture of unruly conduct also led to an environment conducive of individuals being incapacitated due to excessive consumption of alcohol, underage drinking, and at least a high probability that alcohol was offered to and accepted by high school recruits.

The violations were deemed serious enough to shut down the program for five years. No one from the university commented about the availability of swimming and diving at WKU beyond that point.

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