The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

University of New Mexico says entire women's football team involved in hazing incident

  • Print

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs said Wednesday that there's no question there was hazing by the women's football team and that alcohol played a role.

Two team members were sent to the hospital following the incident, which a police report said involved several players who were extremely intoxicated.

Krebs said no one was forced to drink, but because of peer pressure officials consider it hazing.

Despite the efforts of the athletic department and the coaches to develop leadership among student-athletes and to build team chemistry, Krebs said not enough was done to prevent the hazing.

"In this particular instance involving our women's football program, we failed," Krebs said during a news conference. "Whether it's coach (Kit) Vela, myself, as a department, we failed the young women in this program, that they didn't understand and they didn't know better that what they were doing was simply wrong and uncalled for and should have never happened."

As punishment, the team's season opener in Lubbock, Texas, was cancelled. The players also have to participate in a mandatory hazing-education class, and they will have to do community service.

The investigation is ongoing, and officials said additional sanctions are possible.

On Tuesday, freshmen twins Danielle and Devin Scelsi quit the team and withdrew from the school.

University police were sent to a dormitory on campus Sunday night in reference to a student who was highly intoxicated. Danielle Scelsi, 18, told police her sister was having trouble breathing and appeared to be vomiting.

Two other 18-year-olds in the apartment also appeared to be intoxicated, according to the police report.

A rescue unit with the Albuquerque Fire Department responded. Devin Scelsi and one of the other teens were taken to the hospital.

The police report states Danielle Scelsi told officers they were all members of the football team and "had participated in some kind of initiation event."

University officials revealed the team made stops at several houses that night, alcohol was consumed and at some point, liquid soap or window cleaner was sprayed on the freshmen players.

Krebs and Vela said they were frustrated and disappointed that the older players did not step up to put a stop to what was happening. They said the players are only now starting to realize the gravity of the situation.

"They've made a big mistake," Krebs said. They've damaged the reputation of the university. They've damaged the reputation of the football program. They've damaged the reputation of the athletic department. They've damaged their own reputations."

"They're devastated, and I don't think that's too strong of a word," he said. "But they were wrong, and they're going to be held accountable for what they've done."

Krebs sent a note to all student-athletes as a reminder of how the university addresses hazing. All athletes are required to sign a form on which they acknowledge what hazing is and say they won't participate in hazing. They are also required to bring hazing to the school's attention.

Krebs said he hopes the situation will prompt the university to adopt more specific guidelines within the student code of conduct to prevent hazing.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.