Boston University Ice Hockey Team Slammed for 'Sexual Entitlement' Culture
Two ice hockey students sparked task force after sexual assault allegations.
A task force of professors and trustees, which issued its report today, was set up after two BU hockey players were charged with sexual assault in separate incidents in December 2011, and February 2012.
Criminal charges against former player Max Nicastro, who was accused of rape, were later dropped, and Corey Trivino pleaded guilty to sexual assault.
But the task force found that the team's "elevated social status" on campus led to "frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or ongoing commitment."
The task force said the team culture arose because hockey players are isolated from the larger population of the university in housing and activities, and in some cases get involved in alcohol and substance abuse.
"It is clear that excessive alcohol consumption has played a role in the majority of the instances of alleged sexual assault or other inappropriate behavior that have been identified through the work of the Task Force," university president Robert Brown wrote in a letter on the university's website.
Members of the Terriers ice hockey team were instructed not to give public statements on the report, according to players reached by ABC News.
Mike Rosen, the father of junior forward Ben Rosen, said that he applauds the university for being proactive but thinks the assessment does not reflect the entire team.
"I'd like to say the school's doing the right thing in pursuing this, and we'll see how things flesh out, but personally knowing a lot of kids on the team, they're upstanding, high-level student athletes. It's unfortunate that some issues with a couple of kids made the whole team look bad. I can certainly say that about my son, but I applaud the school for taking the bull by the horns," Rosen said.
In response to the findings, BU announced that head hockey coach Jack Parker would be removed from his position as Executive Athletic Director and focus only on his coaching duties. Brown said the change in Parker's status resulted from "possible breaches in NCAA rules" having to do with "the lack of clear reporting lines for the men's ice hockey program."
The report included more than a dozen other recommendations for helping to change the culture of the hockey team on campus, including opening a sexual assault center on campus and institution of a sexual assault prevention education program for the hockey team.
Parker released a statement calling the task force's findings "accurate" and said he thinks the report's recommendations "will help our team, other student-athletes, and the student body in general."
Boston University students told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV that the measures are long overdue.
"If you give a 20-year-old who plays a lot of sports and he's pumped up, and you say 'go do whatever you want and no one's going judge you because you're on the hockey team,' he's probably going to take that in the wrong direction," student Samantha Kassel told the station.
"There is a lot of sexual harassment in every field, and I think this is part of it. And I'm glad we're addressing it," said one student, David Imani.
Olympic champion and former BU player Mike Eruzione, who was consulted by the task force, told WCVB that he believes the report is applicable to all of college athletics, not just BU's hockey team.
"I think athletes, men and women, sometimes feel a sense of entitlement because of the stature that they carry at a university -- whether it's a hockey player at BU, football player at Texas or a woman basketball player at UConn. What I was happy about is that they found is that's really nothing drastically wrong with the BU hockey program -- I think it's more the culture of college athletics," he said.
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