LU basketball suspensions should serve as 'educational tool' for public

Five players who were suspended from Laurentian University men's basketball team said in a statement last Friday that they will continue to learn from their actions, but it is unclear if that lesson will ever be passed onto the public.
Five players from Laurentian University men's basketball team were suspended for breaching the athletic code of conduct. (Supplied )

Five players who were suspended from Laurentian University men's basketball team said in a statement last Friday that they will continue to learn from their actions, but it is unclear if that lesson will ever be made public.

Few details have been released about what led to the school's decision to discipline the athletes. 

The players told CBC through their legal counsel they held a party at a friend's parents' house on September 24, reportedly to introduce rookies to seniors

The university confirmed it did not receive a complaint about the event, but whatever happened was severe enough to be deemed a violation of the athletic code of conduct.

"Myself being a varsity athlete, we understand that being an athlete is a privilege and when incidents occur, actions must be taken," said Kraymr Grenke, the president and chief executive officer of Laurentian University's Students' General Association.

"This is ultimately an isolated incident and it's something that we learn about."
President and chief executive officer of Laurentian University's Students' General Association, Kraymr Grenke, said he thinks the school has handled the basketball suspensions fairly. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

'More of a public issue than a private issue'

But with more questions than answers, a researcher who studies hazing in varsity sports said she is uncertain this incident will teach any one else a lesson besides the players — and that is concerning. 

"I think it's more of a public issue than a private issue," said Dr. Marge Holman, a professor emeritus in the faculty of human kinetics at the University of Windsor.

"Once a determination has been declared that either they [athletes] have violated a regulation or have overstepped educational boundaries, I think it's important to share that with the public so that it becomes an educational tool because these athletes are in an educational institution."

Still, Holman believes there are positive outcomes that can come from this story since it might encourage people to talk more about athletic behaviour. 
Marge Holman is a professor emeritus in the faculty of human kinetics at the University of Windsor, and has studied hazing and initiation in varsity sports. (YouTube Screen Grab/Charlotte Loaring/Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame)

"With the dialogue, comes the education and the understanding," she said. 

"And, if necessary, the resolutions." 

It remains to be seen if the public will learn about the circumstances that led to Laurentian's decision to suspend five men's basketball players. According to last week's statement, the university and the players said they would "not comment further nor share further details out of respect for the privacy of the people involved."

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a network reporter for CBC News based in Toronto. She previously worked in Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.