Hazing is something that happens frequently in college to initiate or create trust between new members and the senior members of a team. Hazing is something that needs to be extinguished and can be prevented with the right leadership.
According to MacIntosh, hazing is defined as “Any potentially humiliating, degrading, abusive, or dangerous activity expected of a junior-ranking athlete by a more senior teammate, which does not contribute to either athlete’s positive development but is required to be accepted as part of a team, regardless of the junior-ranking athlete’s willingness to participate” (14). The hazing activities are often dangerous to the student’s wellbeing while also being illegal. This has put students in hospitals like a freshman at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill who was subjected to alcohol consumption as a hazing ritual (Rosellini, 2). It has also been the cause of many suspensions of upperclassmen of sports teams such as 17 members of the West Virginia University swim team for the hazing they put the freshmen through (Rosellini, 2).
One problem with hazing is that hazing is not being reported. A survey found that of all the US student-athletes that experienced hazing, 91% of them did not consider their experience to be hazing (MacIntosh, 15). This means that there are still many cases of hazing that are not being reported, in fact, 60% of those athletes that were surveyed said that they would not report their experiences of hazing to the authorities (MacIntosh, 15). These facts just show that it is hard for students to identify what hazing is and when they do identify it, they are too scared to report it. This could be because hazing is not physically forced upon the student and therefore it is the student’s “choice' to participate in the hazing (Rosellini, 3). They also might not report their experiences because they do not want to disappoint and break the trust of their upperclassmen, resulting in an even worse consequence.
Progress has already been made in the attempt to extinguish and prevent hazing. Almost all the NCAA schools have banned hazing and about 42 states have laws that fight hazing (Rosellini, 2). In addition, “The NCAA has created some guidelines for administrators, coaches, student-athletes and team captains which offer good ideas on both hazing prevention and positive team-building” (MacIntosh, 16). This is a great start in trying to stop the hazing ritual, but many things can still need to be done to continue to improve the situation. Institutions should continue to ban hazing and more states should make it illegal. Institutes should look to provide programs to help students develop leadership qualities to create a safe, positive team atmosphere (MacIntosh, 17). It would also be of interest to have programs that provide students with guidelines of what is considered inappropriate behavior and information about why hazing is not a good team-building activity (MacIntosh, 17).
In conclusion, hazing is a problem and needs to be acknowledged as a problem in order to be able to fix it. Steps have already been taken to try and fix the hazing problem, but more can still be done. All it takes is a constant effort by the coaches, athletes, and administration to continue to make improvements and create a loving positive team environment because, in the end, it will make the team more successful.
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