The panel in charge of investigating the Boston University men's hockey team's "culture and climate" released its findings today, and it concluded that the student-athletes in the program should be treated as if they were merely students.
Mike McMahon of the Eagle-Tribune went over the group's summary and recommendations on his blog The Mack Report:
"Our conclusion is that there are a number of important structures and processes that are failing to achieve the full level and quality of oversight of the men's ice hockey program that is expected and appropriate at a major university," the findings read. "These failings include issues of institutional control and governance structure at the highest levels, as well as shortcomings in leadership at the team level."
It continued, "Our assessment has shown that a culture of sexual entitlement exists among some players on the men's ice hockey team, stemming in part from their elevated social status on campus. This culture of sexual entitlement, as evidenced by frequent sexual encounters with women absent an emotional relationship or on-going commitment, can also involve unprotected sex. This culture is actively supported by a small subset of BU's undergraduate population."
That second paragraph is a big deal. The panel has noticed that winning hockey players engage in a lot of no-strings-attached unprotected sex, and they recommend changing things. Not just the discipline system, but the entire culture. The mechanics of it involve some administrative shifts—players will have to integrate more with the rest of the student body, including in housing—and lifestyle alterations. Players will have to meet with alumni mentors and undergo sexual-assualt training. Incidents with players that do arise will be handled as if the player were a non-hockey-playing student.
What BU appears to be proposing, then, is a sweeping reformulation of the jock's role at a university. In some ways it's a grander shift than anything Penn State's adopted. Sure, maybe it's just straightforward post-scandal ass-covering. But what if it weren't?
Task force releases recommendations for Boston University hockey program [The Mack Report]