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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Athletics toughens stance on team socials

< some, it seems the Athletics Department is not happy about team socials. Student-athletes from three teams reported a change in Athletics’ tone surrounding team-specific parties in meetings with Athletics staff this year.

“Our talking-to about drinking was more stern this year,” said Men’s Cross Country Captain Michael Hoffert ‘18. “Our coach has spoken to us about socials more, but we haven’t faced any repercussions.”

A member of the Men’s Soccer team, who wished to remain anonymous, said that, in addition to covering typical guidelines, this year’s NCAA compliance meeting included commentary about team drinking events. “For this year, there was a point that was very clearly made that, due to the events of last year and what came up with the hazing scandal, [Athletics] found out about teams having social captains––people who would plan parties for the team,” the Men’s Soccer player said.

A member of the Women’s Soccer team, who wished to remain anonymous, thinks she knows why team socials were of particular note at this year’s compliance meeting. “Basically, we had a social and administration found out about it,” the Women’s Soccer player said. “They gave us a talking-to about how we’re not allowed to have socials in the pre-season.” The Women’s Soccer player continued, “I think there was a communication about when pre-season stops and when the school year begins, so we had a party, and we were caught.”

Hoffert thinks that the pre-season dates are clear. “We literally have an NCAA meeting where we sign the NCAA forms and they say ‘absolutely no drinking in the preseason’ and tell us exactly when the preseason is,” Hoffert said. “It’s not a contention among athletes I know.”

However, the Men’s Soccer player, whose team co-hosted the pre-season social with Women’s Soccer, disagrees. “[Athletics staff] were super ambiguous about what pre-season was,” he said. “We, at that point, had deemed that it was no longer pre-season because we had had our first regular season game, which is before normal students would arrive. After what we deemed as our pre-season was over, after our first game, we had a party.”

Athletic Director Gerald Young declined to confirm whether he knew about a Varsity Soccer team social during pre-season. He did, however, tell the Carletonian in an email, “there have been no changes to ‘policy’ in regards to ‘team socials.’ Any ‘social event’ that has an alcohol element to it has never been recognized, or condoned as a ‘team activity.’” Young declined to comment further.

Hoffert explained that the culture surrounding team socials varies from team to team, and that co-ed team socials stand out from parties that are unaffiliated with teams. “Socials do emphasize engaging a women’s team with a men’s team in a way that other Carleton parties don’t,” Hoffert said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that dynamic makes people uncomfortable.”

However, the Women’s Soccer player finds team socials to be a positive environment. “Personally, I think the team socials are more safe than other parties because you’re with your team, and everyone on your team supports you and wants you to be safe and healthy, especially in season,” she said.

The men’s soccer player expressed concern that his team is being viewed in the same light as DTX, the underground social group responsible for last year’s hazing scandal. “As a group of young men who collectively have a won academic honors for years in a row, with having a collective GPA over a 3.4, who get to practice early, put in our work and do well in the field, get our work done and, at the end of the day, decide to party responsibly with our teammates, we don’t feel it’s right that we are being held to the same standard as a group of kids whose sole purpose was to get people trashed,” the men’s soccer player said. “Our goal is to have fun and make memories with our friends and teammates, even those who choose not to drink.”

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