Alfred University conducted a national survey of college athletes, coaches and staff members at National Collegiate Athletic Association institutions early in 1999. The Riedman Insurance Co., Inc., Rochester, NY, underwrote the study. The cooperation of the NCAA was crucial to the success of the effort.

This study established a baseline of information on hazing in intercollegiate athletics. It included all NCAA divisions for both male and female sports. The study sought to identify:

  • The scope of initiation rites in college athletics.
  • Perceptions of what is appropriate or inappropriate.
  • Strategies to prevent hazing.

The method of study was a direct mail survey that guaranteed anonymity. Two nearly identical surveys were used: one for athletes, a second for coaches and administrators. All NCAA athletic directors and senior student affairs officers were surveyed. A national random sample of 3,000 NCAA coaches was taken from a list of coaches registered at Intercollegiate Directories, Inc. A national random sample of 10,000 athletes was taken from a composite list of all athletes from 224 NCAA institutions that volunteered for this study. Response rates were 20-30 percent. Results for athletes are based on 2,027 respondents. Survey results were optically scanned into a database and analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics: frequencies, percentages, chi-square tests, regression analysis, and factor analysis.

Throughout the course of the study, we relied on assistance and encouragement from our national advisers and reviewers: Bridget Belgiovine, assistant chief of staff for Division III of the NCAA; Todd Petr, director of research for the NCAA; Hank Nuwer, author of Wrongs of Passage and adjunct professor of journalism at Indiana University-Indianapolis; and Eileen Stevens, national anti-hazing advocate.

This report was developed to share the findings with the institutions that expressed their concern for student health and safety by supporting Alfred University in this study. We also hope this report will raise the awareness of the general public in the United States about the prevalence and nature of this problem.

(1) (Editor's Note: As a result of a hazing incident at Alfred University in the fall of 1998, President Edward G. Coll, Jr., created an investigation commission. The Commission suspected that hazing to join athletic teams was pervasive on the nation's campuses. No empirical data could be found, however, prompting the Commission to recommend that Alfred undertake a national baseline study of this issue. For more information, contact Alfred University Director of Communication:

Mark S. Whitehouse
1 Saxon Drive
Alfred, NY 14802-1205