Initiation party results in forfeits, probation for lax team

Updated: August 8, 2006, 2:57 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press