Multiple news sources have reported that UNC is investigating a hazing incident during preseason football practice involving a freshman nonscholarship player.
Sources told the website Yahoo Sports that Jackson Boyer, listed in the media guide as a redshirt freshman — a sophomore academically — wide receiver from Chapel Hill, sustained a concussion in an incident involving multiple teammates at a Chapel Hill hotel where the team was staying during preseason camp. Yahoo said the incident occurred in the first week of August.
Kevin Best ’93, deputy director of sports information in the athletics department, issued this statement: “We are aware of an incident involving members of the UNC football team that took place earlier this month. We take this allegation seriously, and the University is conducting a thorough review.”
A University spokesperson said the Office of Student Affairs was handling the investigation. Best’s statement did not use the word “hazing.” Officials in Student Affairs were not immediately available for comment.
The University “expressly prohibits hazing or any activity that puts a student’s physical, emotional or psychological health and safety at risk,” according to a policy statement.
Hazing is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. The policy on hazing states, “It is unlawful for any student in attendance at any university, college, or school in this State to engage in hazing, or to aid or abet any other student in the commission of this offense.” It defines hazing as subjecting “another student to physical injury as part of an initiation, or as a prerequisite to membership, into any organized school group, including any society, athletic team, fraternity or sorority, or other similar group.”
This comes as the University awaits completion of the latest in a series of investigations of academic fraud issues and their possible ties to the athletics department stemming from an NCAA probe into other irregularities in the football program that started four years ago.
The NCAA in June reopened its investigation of UNC after the UNC-initiated review by independent counsel Kenneth Wainstein and a team of investigators drew the cooperation of key University figures who had not cooperated with previous probes.
Letters from readers…
I found the article about the football suspensions in the Sept. 2 “Out of the Blue” e-newsletter disappointing, to say the least. Especially in light of this article published on insidecarolina.com four days earlier.
The article in “OOTB” suggests through timing that the suspensions were caused by the Yahoo article rather than an actual investigation. But doesn’t back up that point in any way. Additionally, the article simply fuels the flames against a football program that already is fighting for its life.
It perpetuates a hazing narrative that seems misguided after a little digging around. The IC article shows that what’s going on sounds more like a prank that went badly. It’s also telling that the player in question played against Liberty this past weekend.
I certainly understand the need to maintain objectivity and not appear biased. But I think in this case, the article actually ventures into negligence. It perpetuates a narrative that Yahoo started by not having the full story. I’d never ask any UNC organization to be a mouth piece. That said, a University with a journalism program as strong as the one we have deserves better from its own.
For example, there’s no mention of the fact that the coaching staff immediately did the right thing once they were informed.
And why in the world does your article bring up the Wainstein investigation and the NCAA? That’s just ridiculous to make a part of this.
Until today, I kept saying to myself that I need to join the GAA. I wanted to get more involved in alumni activities and be helpful to the University now that I’m in a position to do so. However, I now want no part of an organization that actually works against the University and athletic programs that I love.
Eamon Gilmartin ’99
Class of 1990, Raleigh, lifetime GAA member. Poorly researched and written article. Appears more like something from the tabloid paper N&O. I expect better from you.
Ethan Ontjes ’90
I am extremely disappointed and angry after reading your editorial in the most recent edition of “Out of the Blue.” The insinuations in the piece appear without factual foundation. Perhaps you are correct, and the pending investigation will support your charges. However, to accuse the football program of institutional hazing in violation of University policy and state law seems a reach at this point. Just parroting the accusations in the hostile press seems inappropriate for an alumni publication. Also, how is the NCAA and Wainstein investigations related to this incident? Are you just throwing more mud against the wall? I will not support in any way an organization that perpetuates a smear campaign against my school. I will terminate my membership immediately. I suggest that in the future you let the Raleigh newspaper run the attack pieces against UNC.
Charles Gainey ’68