Approximately half of the University of San Diego football team will receive “varying degrees of disciplinary action” following an offseason hazing incident within the program, university president James T. Harris III announced in letter obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Addressed to university staff, the letter indicated that a number of players received indefinite suspensions.
“I write to you today to share the deeply disturbing news that members of the USD football program have been accused of violating the university’s no-hazing policy,” Harris wrote. “I wish to commend the courageous young men who truthfully recounted what had transpired. They represent the high character and integrity we hope to see in our students.”
Hazing allegations were first brought to light on Aug. 18, according to Harris, prompting the program to suspend activities and launch a preliminary investigation. Specifics of the alleged hazing were not disclosed, though school officials told the Union-Tribune that no players are believed to have been physically harmed. The program forwarded results of the investigation to San Diego police and hired an outside firm to conduct an independent review.
“As a result of this investigation, approximately half the football team, who were either active or passive participants, will face varying degrees of disciplinary action,” Harris continued. “These initial disciplinary actions relate only to athletics participation. Since all USD students are held accountable to the USD Student Code of Conduct, further disciplinary action could ensue.”
San Diego, which competes in the Football Championship Subdivision as members of the Pioneer League, opens the 2023 season under first-year coach Brandon Moore on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo). It is not clear how many players will be available for that matchup. The athletic department’s online roster lists 89 players on the team.
The hazing allegations at San Diego follow a separate hazing scandal at Northwestern, which led to the. Multiple players alleged that widespread hazing took place within the program under Fitzgerald’s watch, and several lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of former Northwestern athletes.
The Toreros encountered a bump in the road earlier this offseason when former coach Dale Lindsey disputed his announced retirement after a decade on the job. Lindseyand did not mince words regarding his exit.
“I did not f–ing retire,” Lindsey told the Union-Tribune in March. “I was shown the door and would like to coach. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”