BC swimmers and divers drop their lawsuit after judge declines to reinstate team amid alleged hazing

College Sports

On Thursday, a state judge rejected the Boston College athletes’ bid to get their team reinstated during an investigation into hazing allegations.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Boston College administrators have placed the swim and dive team on hiatus. John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Staff, File

Members of the Boston College swimming and diving team have dropped their lawsuit against school officials after a judge on Thursday denied their bid to lift the team’s indefinite suspension amid an investigation into allegations of hazing. 

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Diane Freniere ruled against the 37 swimmers and divers, rejecting their request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed them to return to competition while BC continues its internal investigation. 

She wrote in her ruling that the team’s suspension wasn’t arbitrary or capricious, and was, in fact, within the athletic director’s discretion after “sufficient investigation revealed credible allegations of hazing by members of the team at an annual ‘Frosh’ event.”

BC offered further insight into those allegations in documents filed in court earlier this week, alleging that underage drinking occured at three team parties held over Labor Day weekend. The school claimed that team members told freshmen to binge drink and that some freshmen vomited into bags they were instructed to wear around their necks during a Sept. 3 event. 

An initial investigation confirmed that “hazing involving power dynamics and excessive consumption of alcohol in fact had occurred,” BC said in court documents. The swimming and diving team’s suspension came a couple of weeks later. 

Freniere found that the 53 upperclassmen on the team were “clearly and repeatedly warned” that hazing was prohibited by BC’s rules, team rules, and state law. 

“In 2023, no college student could be unaware of the dire dangers of hazing,” the judge wrote. 

In a footnote, she added: “While it is regrettable that certain members of the team who did not participate in or know of the hazing incident are suffering the consequences of the team suspension, that reality is an acceptable collateral consequence.”

Lawyers for the 37 swimmers and divers filed a motion Friday to discontinue the lawsuit. In a statement, they expressed disappointment with the judge’s decision and cited the swimmers’ goal to practice and compete while the investigation proceeds.

“Because that goal has not been achieved, the swimmers have decided to dismiss the lawsuit,” according to the statement from Nesenoff & Miltenberg LLP. “We continue to hope that the school will consider lifting the suspension and alleviating the mental health strain it continues to have on the entire team.”

For its part, BC said in a statement via spokesperson Jack Dunn: “We are pleased that the parents have made the appropriate decision to drop their lawsuit. We hope that they will recognize the seriousness of these hazing allegations and join Boston College in its efforts to eradicate hazing from college sports.”


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