Anti-Hazing Policies to Benefit High School, NCAA Athletes
Hazing is defined by the NCAA as:
Hazing is a subject that can cause anxiety for many prospective athletes. Many athletes have already experienced or witnessed forms of hazing at the high school level and worry that it is even worse at the college level. Upperclassman have experienced hazing and feel that it is now their time to push around the underclassman. Many see it as a rite of passage and a way to build respect for those who came before them.
Fortunately, numerous anti-hazing measures have been put in place over the past few years to help deter athletes from hazing. Hazing is now a crime in 41 states. Most schools also have a zero tolerance policy against hazing by their students. Participants in hazing can be suspended, expelled, or even criminally prosecuted for their actions. Although well-intentioned, it isn’t clear how effective these measures have been since hazing is underreported by both athletes and coaches.
In February 2008, the NCAA issued a 58-page handbook, Hazing Prevention in College Athletics, to college administrators to help eliminate hazing. The handbook highlights the risks of hazing as well as increasing hazing awareness. Some of the strategies outlined in the handbook include the following:
Hazing is certainly a negative aspect of our collegiate sports environment. Hazing causes more mental distress than actual physical harm-something that is hard to quantify. Fortunately, these recent steps to outlaw hazing by the NCAA, state governments, and the schools themselves look to have a profound effect on building teams through empowerment and dignity and not degradation and humiliation.