McGill scraps football season over hazing

Citing a hazing incident, McGill University has cancelled the rest of its men's football season.

School officials announced Tuesday that a four-week investigation uncovered hazing rituals performed during "Rookie Night" on Aug. 27.

"Hazing is based on humiliation and degradation," said McGill's interim provost Dr. Anthony Masi in a statement.

"It has no place at McGill. It will not be tolerated in any form.

"No excuses. No exceptions."

Although the investigation report will not be made public because "it contains confidential information," Masi confirmed that "... despite the fact that all athletes signed commitments that they would not engage in hazing and despite warnings from the coach that inappropriate behaviour would not be tolerated, activities were planned and carried out, in clear violation of the rules.

Officials from Canadian Interuniversity Sport concurred with Masi.

"We absolutely respect the decision McGill took as a university," CIS spokesperson Michel Belanger said. "There is a lot more serious stuff still at stake than a couple of football games."

McGill's investigation was launched after an 18-year-old rookie player lodged a complaint, alleging he was sexually assaulted with a broomstick by an upperclassman as teammates cheered him on.

"The hazing was organized as a team activity by veteran players and a large majority of team members participated," Masi said in his statement.

"Consequently, the team, as a whole, is being held responsible, regardless of varying degrees of blame that may be attributed at the individual level."

Masi revealed that the evidence showed "the event did involve nudity, degrading positions and behaviors, gagging, touching in inappropriate manners with a broomstick as well as verbal and physical intimidation of rookies by a large portion of the team."

Disciplinary action is pending yet "confidential, according to McGill's policies and procedures."

The Redmen were 1-5 this season and scheduled to play top-ranked Laval this weekend.

with files from CP Online