Hazing on college campuses is often seen as innocuous. But we begin with a new lawsuit filed by a stuns at one of America's most prestigious universities that is shining light on Ra underworld where... See More
Hazing on college campuses is often seen as innocuous. But we begin with a new lawsuit filed by a stuns at one of America's most prestigious universities that is shining light on Ra underworld where the hazing ranges from horribly degrading to truly dangerous. When 19 year old Anthony mark Antonio, an olympic hopeful enrolled in the university of Virginia, one of America's premiere institutions of higher learning, he could never have imagined what he says happened to him when he joined the swim team. They threatened him with sexual violence of a very awful variety. They were locked into a bathroom, and told to drink vast quantities of alcohol. Think were imprisoned in the bathroom and couldn't get out. And through it all they were threatened. Reporter: He has filed a lawsuit claiming that violent haszing cost him him swim career. From that moment on he couldn't get in the pool when the other swimmers were there, as the coach put it to him, I can't guarantee your safety. Reporter: His lawsuit is the latest in a growing war against hazing. Alleged victims emerging from the shadows to expose what many believe is an epidemic on college campuses. He doesn't want it to happen to anybody else ever again. Reporter: More than half of college students are involved in some form of campus hazing. And studies show more than 250,000 students experience it when they try to join an athletic team. What used to be viewed as boys will be boys hazing can actually be a crime. And at the least can be something that can lead to a lawsuit. Reporter: A string of recent cases show that hazing can become extreme and even deadly. Is he breathing or is he not breathing? We don't know if he's breathing or not. But we need an ambulance asap. Reporter: Like the case of Robert champion, a drum major at Florida A&M university. Reporter: Investigators believe champion died after walking through a gauntlet of fists on a school charter bus, apparently pummeled to death following his team's game back in 2011. Hazing was involved in the events that occurred prior to the 911 call for assistance. He wasn't responding. We thought he was breathing. He was making noises, but I don't know if he's breathing now. Is he awake? Do you know? I'm, he's not responding. But is he breathing? I have no idea. I cannot tell you that. Okay. Well. He just threw up. Pressure. Reporter: Less than a week ago, three of his fellow band members who had been convicted of manslaughter and hazing for the fatal beatings were sentenced to ten years probation. The proceedings taped by a local fox station WOFL. I am utterly and completely embarrassed and ashamed to have played any part or role in any event which resulted in Robert's death. Reporter: Champion's parents hope their son's death can help spark change. We need to take responsibility and know what's going on in our schools. And not pass the blame, let's take the initiative to fix the problem. Let there and school where our kid can be safe and follow their dreams and don't have to come back in a body bag. Reporter: But reform will not be easy. These traditions run deep on campuses all over America. It is not an understatement to say that I was afratd somebody could die. Reporter: Earlier this month, Penn state student James avens yoe spoke up about what he said was extreme hazing at his fraternity. Hazing included things like forcing the pledges to perform exercises while drinking large quantities of liquor, and then the pledges would be required to drink from a ritual bucket, which would include a mixture of ingredients, such as hot sauce, hard liquor, urine. Reporter: He filed a lawsuit against both his former frats house and the university. When I saw what was going on and the abuse that myself and others were repeatedly experiencing and that the university was totally ignoring, they left me no choice but to go to the police. Reporter: Penn state dismissed those claims, telling ABC news in a statement that while he did approach school officials in 2014, neither he nor his family were willing to file a complaint, provide documentation, speak with state college police or participate in pursuing the formal disciplinary process available to them. The Penn state chapter has been suspended for three years and the frat ousted 38 members after an internal investigation. By bringing this lawsuit, I'm hoping we can help end hazing at Penn state and elsewhere. Reporter: 44 states now have anti-hazing laws on the books. The increase of anti-hazing laws has made it much easier for plaintiffs to win these kinds of cases, they typically have to show that the conduct was either reckless or intentional. Reporter: In the case of that swimmer at the university of Virginia, Anthony mark Antonio, the administration appears to have taken swift action. If we can do something to stop it or to make people have pause the next time, then Anthony will be please bid that alone. Reporter: Falling the reported hazing, the upper class men were suspended for the rest of that semester. None of them ever rejoined the team. Two of them transferred to other schooling. Mark Antonio will attend northwestern university this fall. He had to leave his high hopes of a wonderful education at one of the greatest institutions in America and to be on a very competitive swim team. Went to hell. Reporter: A spokesman for the accused swimmers tells ABC news on behalf of all the defendants that they have not yet been served so can't couldn't on the suit, adding these issues are not new. They were internally investigated by the university of Virginia and handled appropriately. In a statement to ABC news, uva said that they promptly investigated allegations of hazing and took prompt action to provide support services to the affected students, adding that they have since enhanced monitoring of team conduct.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.