Hazing News

FOIA results from Iowa to publisher Bob Reno and Mets “rookie” hazing

All: On Tuesday, will published the freedom of info report sent to Bad Reno, publisher of by the University of Iowa after a baseball team incident in which five first-year players appeared nude. Following is a) my take on the investigation that Mr Reno asked for and b) the university FOIA response after that (posted Tuesday of this week):

a) Hank Nuwer comment: The term rookie hazing is one of those things that all athletes recognize when they see it–no matter what it is called. And yes, as we see below with Milledge of the Mets, some first-year players get caught up in the frivolity. And as the Daily News article shows, so did the sportswriter apparently.

There is no doubt in my mind that the issue was hazing. (There isn’t enough of an investigation to know whether any veteran players could have purchased the alcohol for the rookies that might have taken this incident to the level of criminal hazing in violation of Iowa state law.) It also was a shame that the university didn’t appoint a faculty member who has studied hazing to the two-member committee. It sounds as if all proceeded with good intentions, but we know where that paved road leads.

The team and coaches never should be interviewed TOGETHER first. Kojak would have choked on his sucker. I’ve often said that educators make great teachers but lousy cops. Of course everyone had a story straight by that time. And certainly none of the five was going to go against the group that time after the solidarity in that room was clear and evident and directed against the two university-appointed investigators. WHO BOUGHT THE ALCOHOL? WHEN DID THE COACH KNOW SUCH ANTICS OCCURRED?

Yes, hazing can occur even if only one new baseball player was hazed. Yes, hazing can occur in a party atmosphere. A soccer player at the University of North Carolina had to be rescued and taken to a hospital with alcohol intoxication while his head was shaved in a closet where he’d curled up (nearly) dead drunk to hide. Women and non-team members were there cheering as the first-year men stripped down and guzzled.

Conclusion? The university–with apparent all good intentions– contributed to the ignorance associated with hazing. As far as investigations go, this one should be considered fatally flawed.

I repeat: who bought the alcohol? Was any similar “rookie” initiation held in years past–especially at an annual party such as this one?

Thanks for sharing, Bob. Hank Nuwer

b) FOIA follows at on Tuesday

c) My original column on the IOWA decision is here.

PS: wht wasn’t an Iowa campus police officer present at the two-member investigation with and without the team?

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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