The Dartmouth women’s swimming and diving team is facing disciplinary action from the college after violating the school’s hazing policy. This past December, according to a report from “The Daily Mail,” members of the team made first-year students “organize and display a sexualized PowerPoint presentation while the group was on a training trip back in December, a claim the team has since admitted to.” Dartmouth’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traditionally rank among the least competitive of the Ivy League schools but they’ve long had a reputation for academic excellence and have never, to our knowledge, faced any discipline for such a violation of the school’s policies. It should also be noted this is only the second year in which both the men’s and women’s teams are under the direction of Coach Jamie Holder after the long tenure of Jim Wilson.
In a letter to alumni, parents, and friends of the Dartmouth swimming and diving teams, Dartmouth Director of Athletics Harry Sheehy wrote, “I regret that I need to share some disappointing news about our women’s swimming and diving team. After team members admitted to violating the College’s hazing policy, the College’s disciplinary committee has imposed a one-year probation on the team along with a series of educational and team development requirements. In addition, I have determined that the team will not be allowed to participate in three intercollegiate meets scheduled for fall term. They will be eligible for competition beginning December 1 but they will not travel for training and will instead train in Hanover during the December break. We hold our teams to high standards and our student-athletes understand their collective responsibility to the community. The team members have acknowledged that their behavior was unacceptable and that their actions have consequences.”
The last time the Dartmouth swimming and diving teams made national headlines was when the teams were cut back in 2002 — but ultimately reinstated. The story of the reinstatement of the teams still serves as a shining example to all college athletic teams facing elimination that with a little bit of persistence and a whole lot of creativity, you just might be able to keep your team from being eliminated due to Title IX or budget cuts.