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How to Spot the Warning Signs of Hazing

By TrueSport, 09/24/19, 9:00AM CDT

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Do you know the difference between team traditions and hazing?

Here's how you can spot the warning signs of hazing and put a stop to the hazing culture.

There’s a not-so-secret epidemic happening on high school and college campuses: hazing. Although the hazing culture is condemned, sadly, it’s common.

In the National Study of Student Hazing, 55 percent of college students involved in clubs, teams, and organizations experience hazing. The same study found that “for many students who step onto a college campus and choose to join a team or organization, hazing is not a new experience.” In fact, 47 percent of the respondents report experiencing at least one hazing behavior in high school.

Unfortunately, the code of silence around hazing in high school athletics isn’t just limited to those on the team, who often view these events as a rite of passage ritual. Sometimes, there are also coaches and school administrators who are guilty of failing to report hazing practices.

As a parent, these incidents and statistics are likely unsettling. But, the more you stay vigilant and educated about the current climate of hazing culture, the better equipped you’ll be to support any athlete who finds themselves in a hazing situation. With that in mind, here’s how you can identify hazing behavior and address hazing if you find it infiltrating your athlete’s sports program.

What is hazing?

According to the NCAA, hazing is any act committed against someone joining or becoming a member or maintaining membership in any organization that is humiliating, intimidating or demeaning, or endangers the health and safety of the person. Hazing includes passive participation in such acts and occurs regardless of the willingness to participate in the activities. Hazing creates an environment/climate in which dignity and respect are absent.

What is the true impact of hazing?

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About TrueSport

TrueSport® is a grassroots movement born and powered by the experience and values of USADA–the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The TrueSport® mission is simple and bold: to change the culture of youth sport by providing powerful educational tools to equip young athletes with the resources to build the life skills and core values for lasting success on and off the field.