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Culture Of Drinking, Hazing Led To UC Davis Baseball Program Suspension, Report Says

DAVIS (CBS13) — An investigation into alleged misconduct among the UC Davis varsity baseball team found evidence of hazing and a team culture of alcohol use, the university announced Friday.

Head Coach Matt Vaughn resigned Friday after being found to have failed to address concerns brought to him regarding hazing in 2018. As a result, the current assistant coaching staff will remain employed on an interim basis while the search for a new head coach begins.

This news came in a final report on the investigation released by UC Davis. Eight university employees and more than a dozen current or former players were interviewed over the course of the investigation.

Evidence showed that an annual tradition of hazing new players included a series of challenges involving excessive drinking, pressure to drink and other inappropriate activities, UC Davis said.

Between 2016-2020, initiation activities included things like head-to-head drinking competitions until one person vomited, drinking races, drinking a mystery shot and getting lapdances from strippers.

"Hazing is not an acceptable thing," said Christopher Romero, a UC Davis student. "It's bullying, it doesn't matter what kind it is."

UC Davis also found that, leading up to initiation, experienced players made comments intended to scare rookies. These included situations like telling rookies to shave their "buttholes" and not wear underwear to the initiation, the report found.

"We are deeply saddened that students who have been a part of the baseball team experienced events that negatively impacted their health and well-being," Athletic Director Rocko DeLuca said in a statement. "We appreciate those who reported their concerns as well as those who participated in the investigation. Their actions will help the baseball team create a healthy, supportive culture"

UC Davis said the last reported hazing initiation activities occurred during the 2019-20 academic year, which means a majority of the current team did not take part in them.

The team will face a series of consequences due to the result of the investigation's findings. Unsupervised team activities on- and off-campus are prohibited for the 2021-22 season. A sports administrator will travel with the ream for the 2021-22 season. The number of non-conference games will be reduced for the 2021-22 year.

"It's not something that should really be swept under the rug," Romero said.

The team's suspension went into effect in July. In early October, the team was allowed to resume some activities under close supervision.

"I think its pretty concerning. At the beginning of the year, we heard that the baseball team just didn't exist anymore," said Julia Ratti, another UC Davis student. "That was not something incoming students would really want to hear about the school."

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