Last August, Towson University was rocked by a massive hazing scandal that resulted in the cheerleading team being suspended for the entire 2013-2014 academic year. This was very unexpected, especially from the defending NCA national champions. At the time, there was much speculation about what had happened. On Towson’s campus, many students had ideas, but no one had facts. There was speculation about drinking, dancing naked, doing drugs, among other things, but no one really had any clue about what truly happened.
Now there are finally some answers about what happened. Towson has finally released the report of what the cheerleaders actually did. The report, which was extremely detailed, described the entire hazing process these freshmen went through.
The freshmen were taken to an off campus apartment, where they were told that they could say no to anything they were about to do. They then were taken into the apartment to make a choice between heroin and cocaine. After the girls found out that there were no illicit drugs in the room at all, they were required to either shotgun a beer or take a shot of hard liquor. After, they were blindfolded and forced to put on adult diapers before dancing around in front of the rest of the team.
Even though Towson University has a zero-tolerance policy for hazing, it seems like the school overreacted by suspending them for the entire year. The reduced punishment, probation for the fall semester and 650 hours of community service, was much more deserved by the team. Hazing is never a good thing, but NCAA athletes haze their new members more than any other college group (marching band is second, Greek life is third). Unfortunately, hazing is probably never going to disappear from NCAA athletics. However, even the NCA said that the original punishment for Towson Cheer was harsh. They had never heard of an entire team being suspended.
Zero-tolerance policies exist for a reason, but there has to be a continuum of what people would consider to be worse. It seems like this incident, while still hazing, was very minor, and it’s nice to see that it eventually was treated as such.