The University of San Diego is in hot water just days before the Toreros football team kicks off the 2023 season against Cal Poly.
University president James T. Harris III sent a letter to the football staff laying out “varying degrees of disciplinary action” for about half the team over a hazing incident before the start of the season, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Harris reportedly wrote that some Toreros players have received “indefinite game suspensions.” Harris added that the school forwarded the results of a preliminary investigation to the police and hired an outside firm to conduct an independent review, according to the paper.
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“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,” the president reportedly wrote in part. “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.”
San Diego coach Brandon Moore was notified of the allegations and the university suspended football activities “within hours,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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“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.… These initial disciplinary actions relate only to athletics participation,” the letter reportedly read. “Since all USD students are held accountable to the USD Student Code of Conduct, further disciplinary action could ensue.”
Harris reportedly condemned hazing and bullying in the letter.
A source close to the matter confirmed the discipline in the reported letter. Players will receive varying degrees of discipline with others having received indefinite game suspensions, the source said.
Moore addressed hazing and bullying as questions bubbled up last week. The first-year head coach said he was “hurt and troubled.” He initially explained that a player went missing from team activities and he later learned “he went home” and “needed to decompress.”
Over the status of the player, Moore said it was an “ongoing investigation” and he couldn’t comment. He added that the “nature of whatever has occurred is not indicative of the sport or how it should be played.”
The source noted that the university has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to hazing and the topic itself was addressed by Moore and athletics and university officials at the start of preseason camp.
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The revelation came as Northwestern ousted Pat Fitzgerald over a hazing scandal. Lawsuits are still ongoing in the case.