Freshmen at bottom of food chain, soccer team handbook says

Created: 08/21/2014 8:24 AM
By: Caleb James and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A controversial statement in the University of New Mexico women's soccer team handbook stands out after a confirmed hazing incident that targeted freshmen players.

The section reads, "As all freshmen in the country are now learning, you're now at the bottom of the food chain again. Everyone has been there before, I promise. So be a good team player and go with the flow."

"Do you think there's any encouragement to be at the bottom for freshmen?" KOB reporter Caleb James asked head coach Kit Vela at a news conference on Wednesday.

"No, I think if you read the handbook though, it's talking about freshman duties specific to just bringing the balls out, bringing the pennies out, it's very, very specific in the handbook," she said.

The handbook section does talk about freshman duties, but it also clearly states they're at the bottom of the food chain—something that's now the center of a major black eye for the program.

UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs confirmed Wednesday the entire soccer team was involved in the Sunday night hazing incident.

An attorney representing one of the victims said the freshmen players were allegedly forced to strip naked, consume large amounts of alcohol and were sprayed with urine. Two of the players were taken to UNM Hospital due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Breda Bova, a former NCAA representative for UNM who is leading the investigation into the incident, said upperclassmen pressured freshmen into drinking, but was adamant that only one freshman made the claim she was sprayed with urine. She said all other team members and a witness allegedly say that part of the incident never happened.

When asked if hazing had ever been reported in the past, Coach Vela said the program has just been focusing on this situation for the past few days.

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