HANK WICKLEY
SPORTS WRITER

Hazing can be defined in many ways. It is often related directly to Greek life on college campuses all over the world.

Hazing spreads to athletics as well, and can come in many forms.

Hazing is defined as any humiliating or strenuous act done usually as an initiation into some sort of program or group, and is particularly common in athletics.

The most common example of athletic hazing often has to do with first year athletes in both high school and college who are just starting out on their teams.

At all levels, there have been situations where hazing has ruined the athletic careers of many student athletes.

Some examples include the 1990 Western Illinois University Men’s Lacrosse team, where a young athlete died of alcohol poisoning because of a hazing initiation.

Another example is the 1998 New Orleans Saints, proving that this issue even takes place at the professional level. In this case, rookie players were beat up in the locker room to be ‘welcomed’ to the team.

A more recent example took place just last September, in which three players were kicked off the McMinnville High School soccer team in Oregon because of an incident with hazing.

The common denominator with each story, as well as countless others, is the line, “it was a tradition for years.”

Whether it is tradition or not, there is a definite line between having some fun, and hazing.

Traditions could include shaving heads, forcing athletes to do corrupt acts or even public humiliation in an on-campus dining hall. But at what point do these elements of fun become an issue for student athletes?

Hazing can ruin people’s lives or even end them, causing more problems than need be in athletics.

However, it is not uncommon that first year athletes may have different responsibilities on their team due to their lack of seniority.

Whether it be getting equipment out for practice or cleaning up after games, there is certainly a big difference between extra chores and ruining a person’s life.

An ideal athletic community would not have any issues with hazing, and is one that can be achieved if all athletes are on the same page.

So even if it is a long standing tradition, times change and things aren’t always going to be funny to everyone.