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The Perfect Message

As reported by the Courier-Journal, the Western Kentucky University has caught wind of hazing occurring within their conference championship level swimming and diving programs. Their men’s team won a Conference USA championship last season, and the women’s team finished second. Also, a member of the women’s team was an Olympic athlete at the Summer Olympics winning a medal respectively. It was discovered there was sexual assault, underage drinking, as well as including prospective student athletes not yet enrolled. What they did about these allegations is the perfect and strongest message to have been sent on the issue.
Western Kentucky has decided to suspend both their swimming and diving teams for the next five seasons. It seemed based off of the president’s response that this wasn’t the first time this has happened, as he is quoted in saying that the program has had a “culture of misconduct.” The only qualm I have with him is how he could allow it to reach this point? Maybe if he had taken action sooner it would never have reached the point where a five-year suspension was necessary. It could serve as a blessing in disguise. Now, all athletic departments across the country know the new standard of punishment for their respective programs. This penalty has caused Western Kentucky to not only lose their coaches and next five seasons of competition, but it will affect them for decades as they cannot pull in any new recruits with scholarships for the years following the suspension. The college has decided to respect the scholarships for all the current athletes as long as they are in good academic standing.
In my personal opinion, this was a long overdue punishment for a program. It’s a shame it had to happen to a program that was so small in popularity and notice amongst the national media. If it had been a football or basketball team, I think it would have been a headliner on SportCenter, and media around the country would have been discussing it for years like the SMU scandal. These kids needed to learn somehow that no matter what you do for the school or how high you are in social status, you can be punished. This was completely justifiable and I commend Western Kentucky officials in knocking this hazing problem completely out of their university forever.
– Andrew DiStefano – President of the Hazing Prevention Center

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