By Emily Sierra Poertner
The Women’s Lacrosse team has been forced to forfeit their next five games. Right before break, a college employee brought to attention an alcohol-related hazing incident involving the entire team.
The Dean of Students, Aaron Fetrow, and the Athletic Director, Scott Allison, spent the next few days investigating the team and looking at other schools with similar incidences. The NCAA has been known to crack down hard on groups that don’t properly report, as can be seen by looking at Florida A&M’s Marching Band from 2011. The NCAA defines hazing as an act “humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or endangers the health or safety of a person” regardless of whether members are forced to participate, and NCAA is concerned about the environment hazing rituals produce.
While five games were forfeited, the team still traveled over break to Puerto Rico to play Christopher Newport University. Fetrow said they rationalized this choice because they didn’t want to further victimize the new players; the players were already victimized due to the hazing incident.
“This trip was entirely funded by the players… it didn’t seem right to tell them they couldn’t go after they’d already been victims in a hazing incident,” Fetrow said.
During this game, the team captains were suspended. The team had already planned to do service projects during the break, but they stepped up the amount they did. The coaches also hosted a forum about hazing for coaches of other teams.
There’s no delusion in administration that this was an isolated event. “An example was made to other organizations, Greek, theater, choir, at [the lacrosse team’s] expense,” Fetrow said.
Roanoke College was polled at number two in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason rankings behind Washington & Lee. Also ranked were Randolph-Macon at third and Shenandoah at fourth. Of the five games that were forfeited, the only meetings between Roanoke and W&L, and Shenandoah were among them.
The forfeits have to be upsetting for Coach Schwartz, who could not be reached for comment. This was the start of her 11th season with Roanoke, after getting her 100th win last year. The only losing season Schwartz has had with the Maroons was when she first took over the program in 2005.
Women’s lacrosse will come back on March 23 in a home game against Middlebury College at home. Energy will be high at this game. After the forfeited games and the loss to CNU, Roanoke will have to fight hard in their remaining ten scheduled games. They’ll be coming in mid-season having only played one game against teams that have been playing all season.