Rugby Club on Suspension

The UNC men’s rugby club, found guilty of violating the Sports Club Council alcohol policy, was placed on suspension shortly after the start of the semester.

The team, a sport club and not a varsity team, was banned from practicing and competing until Oct. 18, at which time some sanctions were lifted when club members were acquitted of charges of misrepresenting the University and the club. Hazing charges also were dropped after University officials began investigating the club’s conduct.

The team was allowed to resume practicing and was scheduled to compete in a tournament at the end of October. It will remain on probation until the end of the school year.

Club President Rufaro Sikipa said the University’s honor court system is not involved in the matter. “There is no honor court involvement because this is not an investigation into allegations against any individuals,” he said.

According to the Sports Club Council’s investigations, the alcohol violations occurred at club-sponsored parties and social events where underage drinking took place.

Winston Crisp, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, has supported the investigations spearheaded by Jason Halsey, director of sports clubs, but would not delve further into the details behind the allegations or the number of team members implicated.

Sikipa said the allegations were the result of years of scrutiny by administrators.

“The rugby team has been under watch for a couple of years,” he said. “They’re upset with what’s been happening over the years.”

Sikipa said his group has no desire to stir more controversy as the semester continues. “Everyone’s just really bummed,” Sikipa said. “Emotions are high. But at the end of the day, we just want to play rugby. We were excited about making huge steps … then this huge bombshell dropped on us.”

As the club begins to pick up where it left off, it will establish a student code of conduct and an alumni advisory board to guide its activities. Community service also is being scheduled, Sikipa said.

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