Investigations into the Air Force men’s lacrosse and men’s swimming teams revealed evidence of hazing that has led to the punishment of dozens of academy athletes across the two sports, according to the Air Force Times.
Both investigations were conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which found that roughly 30 lacrosse players had engaged in hazing of freshmen on some level. Some merely watched the hazing, some encouraged the hazing, while others actively participated in the hazing, according to the Academy’s spokesperson Lt. Col. Tracy Bunko.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria told the Times that a separate investigation into the men’s swimming team divulged “enough evidence ... that we’re going to take action against some swimmers.”
Both investigations are now complete. The legal review of the lacrosse investigation is finished, and those suggested punishments have been passed along to the requisite higher-ups. Some players have been put on probation while others were kicked off the team, according to Silveria. A few seniors on probation were not allowed to graduate with the rest of the 2018 class.
“Team rituals had crossed the line into hazing, in our minds,” Silveria said.
The legal review of the swimming team investigation is still pending, but members of the squad are in danger of similar consequences as lacrosse players, including not graduating with their class, according to Bunko.
“Any allegation of misconduct is taken seriously, investigated, and those found to have taken part in hazing or allowed it to happen as a leader are held accountable,” Bunko said.
This comes after both programs received significant discipline in the past year. In October, Air Force announced suspensions for both lacrosse coaches and players as part of an investigation into misconduct. And in February, the school announced that it had removed 11 swimmers from the men’s team, also because of misconduct.
In March, the academy announced it would be hiring an outside firm to conduct to review all athletic teams and their practices. Silveria told the Times that the school is close to finding that firm.
“I’m not afraid, because whatever we find, I’m ready to take action,” Silveria said.