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Initiation party results in forfeits, probation for lax team

8/8/2006

WASHINGTON -- Catholic University forfeited three women's
lacrosse games and will place the team on probationary status for
the 2006-07 school year following an investigation of an off-campus
freshman initiation party.

The investigation began in the spring after photos showing what
appeared to be a male stripper at a party were posted on the
Internet under the heading "Catholic University Women's Lacrosse
Initiation Party 2006."

"After interviewing members of the lacrosse team and carefully
reviewing the facts, we have determined that team members engaged
in regrettable activities that are contrary to the expectations we
have for our students and to the values of the university,"
athletic director Michael Allen said in a statement Tuesday. "As
we communicated directly to the student-athletes in question, we
are deeply disappointed by their actions, particularly for any
embarrassment and humiliation which the freshmen being initiated
may have experienced at the time and subsequent to the event."

Allen said the team forfeited three games from the 2006 season
that took place after the party. The probationary status means the
team will be under greater scrutiny should disciplinary matters
arise during the upcoming academic year.

Allen said he and university president David O'Connell will
address all athletes at the start of the fall semester "to outline
a zero tolerance policy for hazing and initiation activities."

"In addition, the university will conduct a series of
educational sessions with student athletes and coaches to ensure
that they understand fully the dangers associated with initiation
activities," Allen said.

Catholic's investigation began the same week that Northwestern
suspended its women's soccer team after a Web site displayed
pictures of alleged hazing at a party. Northwestern's soccer
program was later reinstated, but the team's coach resigned the
following month.