Utica College Baseball Team suspended

The following letter was sent to the parents of members of the Utica College Baseball team regarding the recent team suspension.

Dear Parents of Members of Utica College’s Baseball Team

By now you may have heard that Utica College’s baseball program has been suspended following an incident in the Albany (NY) Airport. En route to UC’s spring baseball trip in Florida, freshman members of the team donned children’s pajamas, which they wore in the airport as well as on the plane.

While some who are familiar with the situation may dismiss this incident as harmless fun, the fact is that it put students in an embarrassing position that may or may not have been of their own free will. Noting that colleges must be sensitive to the abuses of power, the NCAA’s handbook on preventing hazing cites “asking new members to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire” as an example of harassment hazing.

Whether this incident rises to the level of hazing or not, it was an embarrassment to our students and, as a consequence, to our institution. While we considered a number of courses of action, including cancellation of the season altogether, in the end we decided to suspend the baseball program beginning on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 and ending on Friday, April 5. During that time there will be no organized practices or games allowed. Practice will resume on Saturday, April 6, 2013 and games will resume on Tuesday, April 9.

I realize that the suspension may seem overly harsh for some who have fond memories of seemingly harmless pranks from their high school or college days. However, in the current environment, where senseless deaths have resulted from such seemingly harmless pranks, Utica College must send a strong message that such behaviors will not be tolerated, no matter what the scope. We have informed the Commissioner of the Empire 8 regarding this situation.

Please know that this decision has the full backing of the President of the College and his senior administrators.

Please feel free to contact me at 315-792-3051 if you have any questions.

David S. Fontaine ‘89
Director of Athletics

Cc: President Todd Hutton
Provost Judith Kirkpatrick

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