Executive Summary

Over 325,000 athletes at more than 1,000 National Collegiate Athletic Association schools participated in intercollegiate sports during 1998-99. Of these athletes:

  • More than a quarter of a million (250,000+) experienced some form of hazing to join a college athletic team.
  • One in five was subjected to unacceptable and potentially illegal hazing. They were kidnapped, beaten or tied up and abandoned. They were also forced to commit crimes - destroying property, making prank phone calls or harassing others.
  • Half were required to participate in drinking contests or alcohol-related hazing.
  • Two in five consumed alcohol on recruitment visits even before enrolling.
  • Two-thirds were subjected to humiliating hazing, such as being yelled or sworn at, forced to wear embarrassing clothing or forced to deprive oneself of sleep, food or personal hygiene.
  • Only one in five participated exclusively in positive initiations, such as team trips or ropes courses.

Athletes most at risk for any kind of hazing for college sports were men; non-Greek members; and either swimmers, divers, soccer players, or lacrosse players. The campuses where hazing was most likely to occur were primarily in eastern or southern states with no anti-hazing laws. The campuses were rural, residential, and had Greek systems.

  • Women were more likely to be involved in alcohol-related hazing than in other forms of hazing.
  • Football players were most at risk for dangerous and potentially illegal hazing.
  • Non-Greeks were most at risk of being hazed for athletics even though a Greek system on campus is a significant predictor of hazing.
  • Eastern and western campuses had the most alcohol-related hazing.
  • Southern and midwestern campuses had the greatest incidence of dangerous and potentially illegal hazing.

Athletes, coaches, athletic directors and college administrators agreed on strategies to prevent hazing:

  • Send a clear anti-hazing message in policy, education, and enforcement.
  • Expect responsibility, integrity, and civility on the part of athletes, team captains, coaches, and administrators.
  • Offer team-building initiation rites facilitated by trained coaches or other adults.