The entire cheerleading team of Towson University has been suspended for the academic year for hazing. Yes, the entire team.
The school didn't say much about the incident, but spokesperson Deb Moriarty did tell the Baltimore Sun that:
"Hazing in any form will not be tolerated at Towson University. We hold high expectations for all of our students and their conduct as leaders, both on and off campus. Out of concern for students' privacy and their rights to due process that includes their right to appeal the suspension, it would be inappropriate for the university to comment further."
The team is appealing the ruling, but they can't perform or practice during the process. Cheerleading experts say suspending an entire team is rare in the sport, almost unheard of.
It certainly is a bold move; I feel like it's way more common for universities to look the other way on stuff like this, especially when it involves student athletes. Still, more schools have adopted zero-tolerance policies towards hazing in recent years.
I didn't attend Towson, but I grew up about a mile south of the campus in suburban Baltimore. The university has grown a ton since I was a kid, even since I was a teenager. It's upped its presence nationally, drawn many more of out-of-state-students and expanded all over downtown Towson; perhaps TU is hoping to set an example with the way hazing is dealt with at state schools, especially in the state of Maryland.
I wonder if this means the university will scramble to try to find replacements, or if the university just won't have any cheerleaders at all this year? Towson has a pretty great dance team (they've won national championships fifteen years in a row), so maybe the dancers will take the place of cheerleaders for 2013-2014.
Photo: Towson_Cheer Twitter account