Sport Law Discussion Questions
Hazing in Athletics Programs
Hazing continues to be a widespread problem in school athletics programs and one of the most highly litigated claims against districts and athletics personnel, with courts typically imposing liability either because of the failure to create an anti-hazing policy or for developing a policy that is substantively inadequate or ineffectively implemented.
Since the beginning of 2014, more than 150 incidents of alleged hazing in school athletics programs have been reported by national media, including many involving physical abuse or sexual assaults resulting in criminal prosecution of the direct perpetrators for felony assault or sex crimes, some involving prosecution of school personnel for failure to report child abuse, and almost all leading to civil suits. Using the same standard employed in sexual harassment cases, courts have tended to find school and athletics personnel vicariously liable in those situations where the official had knowledge that hazing was occurring and exhibited deliberate indifference to immediately correcting the situation.