By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
Fourteen members of the Baylor baseball team have been suspended for parts of the upcoming season due to a hazing incident that took place in February 2019. The suspensions were announced by Baylor vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Mack Rhoades Friday through a press release.
Each student-athlete involved will be suspended two games over the next three weeks, beginning with the season opener against Nebraska next Friday.
Rhoades said the university does not take hazing incidents lightly.
“Our priority is to provide a safe and caring environment for all student-athletes,” Rhoades said. “This type of behavior is not reflective of the mission and vision of Baylor Athletics.”
According to the release, the Baylor Athletics administration became aware of the hazing incident in May 2019 and a full investigation was launched by the Division of Student Life and the Office of General Counsel.
Head baseball coach Steve Rodriguez said in the release Friday that he is “very disappointed with this incident.”
“We do not condone such behavior and respect the thorough investigation and decision by the university on the matter and will move forward,” Rodriguez said.
Baylor University policies define hazing as “any intentional, knowing, or reckless act, occurring on or off campus of an educational institution, by one person alone or acting with others, directed against a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in an organization.”
Physical acts of brutality, sleep deprivation, exposure to the elements, confinement in small spaces, calisthenics, or other similar activities that could subject the student to “unreasonable risk or harm or that adversely affects mental or physical health or safety,” are considered hazing. The consumption of food, liquids, alcohol, liquor, drugs, or other substances as well as any activity performed that breaks the Penal Code and the coercion to perform any of the above also falls under that category.
It was clarified that no alcohol or drugs were involved but the athletic department did not specify what kind of hazing occurred.
No player names were explicitly stated but the 14 players that will serve suspensions make up 40% of the current roster. Eighteen of the 35 athletes that are listed as members of Baylor baseball are currently classified as upperclassmen but two of them are recent transfers who arrived in the fall. Aside from the transfers, each of the players that currently classify as upperclassmen saw playing time during the 2019 season.
Baylor baseball is scheduled to play eight home games during the estimated suspension period before taking a trip to Houston for the Shriners College Classic in which they will face three SEC teams, two of which are ranked in D1baseball’s Top 25 preseason poll, but no specifics were given on which games the suspensions would take effect.
Baylor will open its season at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 against the University of Nebraska at Baylor Ballpark.