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Athletic hazing at NESCACs

ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 41 replies1 threads Junior Member
My D21 is a competent if not spectacular track athlete who is considering competing in college. We are in New England and she isn't interested in venturing too far from home, so she's looking predominantly at NESCAC schools. At this early point in the process she has decided not to attempt to be recruited and try to walk on if she's still interested at that point. She will be the 4th of 4 we have put through college and will need a decent amount of FA, so we don't want to complicate things by throwing recruitment, ED, etc into the mix. She is a good student and fairly involved/accomplished so we 're pretty sure she can get in somewhere that works for her .

Does anyone out there have any knowledge of/experience with athletic hazing at NESCAC schools? A former teammate of hers goes to a regional low D1 school, where despite the school's "anti-hazing" policy, apparently hazing does happen. AFAIK it "just" involved excessive drinking, not anything weirder, and the teammate is more of a partier then my D is, so I don't know how much pressure was actually applied. It did get me thinking about this, though.

I tried googling variants of "NESCAC athletic hazing" and came up with a few things involving men's teams. These were cases where some action was taken. I'm more interested to here if anyone has knowledge of this going on "under the radar", specifically with women's teams. At this point in her life D is fairly straight laced and I can see an episode like her teammate's really putting a damper on her whole college experience. Anti-hazing policies are fine, but as the saying goes "trust, but verify".


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Replies to: Athletic hazing at NESCACs

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2972 replies51 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2019
    My D's team (NESCAC) has no hazing.

    With that said, I think it will be difficult to sort thru this. If your D visits and has the opportunity to speak with potential team members she might get an idea, and could even ask.

    Based on my experience (all anecdotal, aside from my D's team) I would say there will overall be more potential for hazing to be happening at DI vs DIII schools, probably more risk of hazing in men's teams than women's, and probably more risk of hazing in larger (in terms of team size) women's teams in relatively aggressive sports vs. smaller size teams in more conservative sports.
    edited November 2019
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23661 replies17 threads Senior Member
    It depends on what you mean by hazing. Are freshmen often expected to pick up the fields and put away equipment while the others just take off after practice? Yes. Might the newbies get the less desirable spots on the bus? Sure.

    That's going to happen at D1 or any level. Sort of the nature of kids joining a new group. some kids don't take well to that and think anything is hazing.
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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 41 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I'm more concerned with drinking, etc than with the other stuff, which I doubt she would really care about.
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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 41 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks @Mwfan1921 it's good to hear some direct experience.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1492 replies8 threads Senior Member
    I have not heard of institutionalized hazing on the women teams at D's NESCAC (e.g., the captains/upperclassman make the frosh do something they would rather not do). The teams do tend to hang out together socially, oftentimes involving partying of some sort. Then it is just run of the mill peer pressure. In season, there is in fact pressure to minimize any partying.
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  • politepersonpoliteperson 415 replies4 threads Member
    edited November 2019
    This is the sort of question that can be addressed during the recruiting process. If your daughter is at all interested in competing in college she might want to communicate her interest to coaches. In T&F all it takes is filling out the recruiting form and following up with a brief email. This could potentially lead to phone calls with coaches, unofficial visits to campus, overnight visits, meeting the team, etc. It might or might not involve admissions support but she would learn a lot about each school and program from the process. I don’t really see the downside, especially with how focused she already is regionally and in terms of school size. To me the downsides of recruiting are that it’s very time consuming or that kids tend to fit the search to athletic fit rather than academic. Doesn’t sound like those are issues for your daughter.

    If her times aren’t recruitable most coaches will be honest and she still might learn something. But I would just view it as another source of info for her. And if she improves a lot this spring you might find that she can get support from a coach to get admitted to a school she already knows she loves and that also works well for you in terms of FA (which you would learn before committing to ED). There’s no real commitment in D3 to compete once admitted, so she’s not locking herself into anything by exploring this now.
    edited November 2019
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9695 replies521 threads Senior Member
    @wisteria100 , any knowledge about this?
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  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase 546 replies3 threads Member
    Hazing, hard to define, but you know it when you see it. The NESCACs do not tolerate hazing, and take swift corrective action when they learn about it. In fact, some would say that the schools have overreacted to mild instances.

    College students are known to imbibe from time to time, and that almost certainly includes athletic teams (there is way more in the line of enforcement efforts directed to underage drinking now than in the dark ages when I was matriculating). My sense is that there probably is more drinking than parents would prefer and at the same time less than some students are hoping for.
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4312 replies48 threads Senior Member
    @Lindagaf Have heard no inklings that this goes on at all.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 667 replies8 threads Member
    I'm immersed in NESCAC recruiting right now, tho different sport, and on the men's side. My son is *very* straight laced, absolutely no drinking. Neither he nor I have heard even a whisper of hazing or excessive partying going on.

    Since you aren't pursuing recruiting, why not forget about the track part, until she's admitted and at that point she can meet the team and coach and decide if it's a good fit for her?
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  • RightCoasterRightCoaster 2888 replies4 threads Senior Member
    My son is a track and field guy at a Nescac school and there has been no hazing. I talked with him about partying and sports teams, and he said he has been to parties at off campus houses and they have been far from rowdy. My son said most of the kids he knows from the team are good students and they don’t have time to party that much because they need to study, and partying hard is not the most beneficial thing for fast times.

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Good luck to your D.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 549 replies13 threads Member
    I do think this can vary by team and random luck of 4 year makeup of said team. My husband played at a nescac - he said no hazing but he also pointed out the seniors when he was a freshman were unusally brainy for his sport. I went to a different nescac and played a sport, no hazing. Men's hockey team and women's rugby team both got into serious trouble for hazing while I was there.
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  • 57special57special 638 replies15 threads Member
    This is one of those things that rears it's ugly head up once in a while, and sometimes at place you'd least expect it to. Best thing is to keep asking... I know of one mens team that has some VERY sketchy behavior going on, and it's an Ivy.

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  • MeddyMeddy 524 replies35 threads Member
    I just returned from Family Weekend at Amherst College and it just so happens that I heard of strict policies there for two different teams around curfews and partying. One was when the parents wanted to meet up with us, but let us know their athlete wouldn't likely join us because of curfew and the other was an athlete on another team, who had to attend a team meeting. The parents of that athlete explained that when in season had regular meetings and that bed times were very tight and coaches demanded that they are "dry" during the season.

    My guess is that with school policies in place, it still takes the coach to get the message across to the team that they are very serious about it.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 39564 replies2178 threads Super Moderator
    ^Well, after the problems Amherst has had in recent years, I'm not surprised they're strict now.

    https://www.flotrack.org/articles/5058851-amherst-mens-xc-team-suspended-under-investigation-for-explicit-messages
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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 41 replies1 threads Junior Member
    These are great responses, thank you all. @MaineLonghorn we were just at Amherst yesterday. I vaguely remember hearing about the men's xc incident when it happened. @cinnamon1212 we will probably be taking your advice and just let her figure it out when she gets wherever she's going, if she's still interested. She absolutely loved Amherst, although it's a reach for her (but what's with that "rounded square" indoor track?). I only remember the scary backwoods drive from Southern NH. We've just started this process so we're still getting used to it. This is the fourth time I've done this but the first three were easy.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6139 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I was not be terribly worried about true hazing but would definitely investigate the team culture. Few teams will browbeat someone into doing something they absolutely refuse to do, but many may have a way of being/partying/celebrating together that may make a non-partaker feel like an (uncomfortable) outsider (or make a fence-sitter feel compelled to partake.)
    And if the teammates typically live together, the choices can be even more difficult.

    As @1ofeach notes, this really varies by team.
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 266 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I agree it is important to get a sense of school/team cultures so that your D can find a comfortable environment. Our S19 is a track athlete who elected not to go to a NESCAC school and is now a first-year at Denison. Like your D, he did not try to get recruited but is running as a walk-on. We met with the coaches at many of the schools he applied to and they all seemed to welcome walk-ons - I think this is one of the real advantages of track. Our S's experience so far has been terrific. The school takes its athletics very seriously but there is a real focus on the relationship between sports and academics - the school just established a new Institute for Development through Sport, and the overall atmosphere, at least on the track team, seems very healthy. I don't mean to be trying to sell Denison - my point is just that there are places that take this stuff seriously and your D should be able to find a school where she can enjoy running. Being on the team has really helped our S get oriented and organized, and he has already formed strong relationships with his teammates and coaches.
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  • ThisNameNotTakenThisNameNotTaken 41 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @tkoparent I've been hearing positive things about Denison since I was in high school (think Jimmy Carter). Too far (12 hours) for us, though. For some reason I associate "meeting coaches" with "trying to be recruited", but it seems like I'm wrong about that. Since we have a 3 hour (more or less) radius limit and can visit multiple times without too much trouble, we're planning to do a first round of "yea or nay" visits, then visit the "yea"s in more depth. Maybe that would be a good time to reach out to coaches.
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 266 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @ThisNameNotTaken , I understood from your original post that you are looking in the Northeast. We are in Asia, so it's all really far for us! But I would recommend in any event that you meet with the coaches whenever possible, even on the "yea or nay" round. That was something I learned on CC and it was really the best advice. Even though our S wasn't pursuing recruitment - he had an injury junior year that affected his times - it was our experience that the coaches were universally happy to meet with us and spend time with our son. We found those encounters to be very helpful in capturing the real character of the schools, relative to the kind of packaged presentations by the Admissions department. At Denison, the coach took a lot of time with our son, invited him to watch the team practice and introduced him to a couple of team members. Those encounters were really an important deciding factor, and the impression we all formed on that visit has played out now that our son is there.
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