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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


McGill cancels football season after hazing

McGill University announced last week the cancellation of their football season following revelations of a serious hazing incident at the team's "rookie night" Aug. 27.

The Montreal-based school, which played Harvard University in the first college football game in North America more than a hundred years ago, is widely considered to be Canada's premiere academic institution.

"From what I hear they made them strip naked and then pretended to shove a broomstick up their ass but instead just tapped their butt cheek," McGill sophomore Sean Davis said.


One unnamed rookie, who subsequently withdrew from the university, prompted the school's internal investigation after he decided the hazing incident went too far.

"We commend his courage for coming forward with this," McGill Associate Vice-Principal Jennifer Robinson said. "It's not easy."

In an e-mail sent to the entire student body, McGill Interim Provost Anthony Masi said the university determined the event involved nudity, degrading positions, gagging, and "touching in inappropriate manners with a broomstick," but that "contrary to some media reports, there is no evidence that anyone was sodomized."

Michael Bélanger, spokesperson for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), Canada's equivalent of the NCAA, said McGill's self-imposed penalty was "appropriate" but still questioned the practicality of their decision to forfeit the rest of their games.

He said it creates an inconvenience for the rest of the Quebec conference.

"An ideal scenario would have been for McGill to finish the season and they were out of the playoffs anyway and then maybe right after the season, announce that they were going to suspend their football team for next year," Bélanger said. "It not only involved McGill and the McGill football team but it involved two [other] teams as well."

Although the suspension will cancel just the two games remaining on McGill's schedule, Robinson said the university would have done the same thing "if there had been eight more games left."

Davis, however, said he believes McGill's decision was more calculated.

"They waited to cancel it until after they knew that McGill couldn't make the playoffs," Davis said.

When told of Davis' accusation, Bélanger said he too has heard that theory and noted the CIS may take additional disciplinary action against McGill once the football season is over.

"I've heard that comment from a lot of people [but] I'm pretty certain that they didn't," Bélanger said. "The people who made the decision, which is at a really high level of the university, these are non-football people. I'm not even sure these people knew what the team record was at the time it issued the penalty."

According to Bélanger, the CIS and the Quebec conference McGill belongs to will determine in early December any additional suspensions or penalties.

David McDonald, special assistant to the University of Wisconsin chancellor regarding athletics, said McGill "absolutely" made the correct decision to cancel their season.

The question of hazing and its possible repercussions, McDonald said, has never surfaced in any discussions he's had with UW officials.

"I have never encountered any discussion [of hazing] on my time on the athletic board," McDonald said. "We've never discussed problems of hazing. As far as I know there are in-house rules [but] they've certainly never had to be enforced."

When asked about any precedence for McGill's suspension, Robinson, Bélanger and McDonald all referenced the University of Vermont, which Bélanger said canceled the last 16 games of their men's hockey season about five years ago.

"We did a lot of research into what other universities have done in the past faced with similar situations," Robinson said. "In Vermont several years ago there was an incident I would characterize as worse than what happened at McGill and they also canceled their season."

Though some may shudder at the thought of a similar incident happening to the UW football team, Davis said "nobody really pays attention to" McGill's Redmen football team, and said hockey, rugby and baseball are all more popular.

"I have never even heard highlights of a football game," Davis said. "I've never heard anyone talk about football really except to say that they don't like the football team because they're the only team that gets money except for hockey."

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