WKU is suspending its Swimming and Diving program for five years, effective immediately. The university informed the team members and coaching staff of the decision Tuesday morning.
The move comes after investigations by the Bowling Green Police Department and university uncovered evidence of violations of WKU’s Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy, and Title IX Sexual Misconduct/Assault Policy.
In an email sent to school faculty and staff Tuesday, President Ransdell said those violations included hazing and underage alcohol consumption involving team members and recruits. Ransdell said coaches were aware of the “pervasive culture” of abuse with the program and failed to prevent it.
"This University simply will not tolerate indecent, immoral, physical, or mental acts of disrespect or abuse among our students. We must all embrace a culture where every student is as important as any student," Dr. Ransdell said in his email. "When this culture is not embraced, we will act swiftly and firmly to ensure that the dignity and integrity of the institution is sustained. It is our hope that over the next five years, the pervasive culture of misconduct and lack of sufficient oversight in this program will be flushed from our campus life."
The investigations into the Swimming and Diving programs at WKU began when a former swim team member filed a report with city police claiming he was assaulted by teammates and forced to drink alcohol during several hazing incidents.
Current swimming and diving team members will be able to transfer immediately to other schools. Those choosing to remain at WKU will have their scholarships honored through their senior years.
The positions currently held by Head Swimming Coach Bruce Marchionda, Associate Head Coach Brian Thomas, and Head Diving Coach Chelsea Ale will be eliminated June 30.