Northwestern soccer team issues public apology

Updated: May 23, 2006, 6:32 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Northwestern women's soccer team on Monday made its first public statement since the university suspended the team last week while it investigates alleged hazing activities involving players last year.

"We … apologize for the negative attention, press, and controversy our alleged hazing incident has caused the University," read the statement, which was published in The Daily Northwestern. "We never foresaw that what began as a well-intentioned night of team unity and celebration would have such severe consequences, and we are embarrassed that our actions have become the source of such harsh criticism.

"We fully accept responsibility for our behavior and understand the magnitude and severity of the current situation. As Northwestern varsity student-athletes, we take extreme pride in representing this school, and this incident does not reflect the values, integrity and qualities we seek to embody."

In the letter, the team did not detail the alleged incidents or address specifically the photographs that appeared this month on a Web site that allegedly showed members of the team clad only in T-shirts and underwear, some blindfolded and others with their hands tied behind their back. Nor did they address the photographs that appeared to show some team members drinking alcohol.

Mike Wolf, Northwestern's assistant athletic director for media services, said the school would have no comment on the letter or on the investigation by the school's Division of Student Affairs. Women's soccer coach Jenny Haigh did not immediately return a call to her office for comment on the apology.

Last week, the school suspended the team from all athletic activities. That same week, the school placed the men's swim team on disciplinary probation for a hazing incident that occurred last September that involved underage drinking and what Wolf called "additional inappropriate behavior."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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