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A very interesting story out of Tuscaloosa today:
All Interfraternity Council fraternities will suspend pledgeship effective Oct. 1.UA Dean of Students Tim Hebson said at 11 p.m. Tuesday that pledgeship will be reinstated Oct. 8 following fall break.
IFC President Drew Smyth confirmed that pledgeship would be temporarily suspended for the week.
“We are right now working on making sure that everything in the greek community is running smoothly,” Smyth said. “We felt the new members needed to be rested up for their families.”
You know you’re talking about a southern school when the university actually takes into account how its collective pledges will look when they go home to their parents for the first time. The only problem with that excuse is that it’s total bullshit and refuted literally a few lines later.
“A few pledge classes were suspended temporarily while we investigated allegations of hazing and identified the individuals involved,” Hebson said in the statement. “Individuals who violated the Code of Student Conduct are being dealt with appropriately. Thus far, no fraternities have been found responsible for hazing; only individuals were involved and it was not a chapter action.
“No pledge classes have been cancelled and the University has not threatened to cancel all new member programs,” he said.
One has to wonder why every single pledgeship would be “temporarily suspended” at a school with a Greek system as humongous as Alabama’s just because of a few supposedly isolated hazing incidents. Incidents that are apparently the acts of individuals and not fraternity sanctioned actions. Could it be athletic department damage control?
This from College Football Talk of NBC Sports:
According to the Birmingham News, senior H-back Kelly Johnson and his fraternity have been named as part of a personal injury lawsuit filed in federal court in Birmingham last Friday. The amount of damages being sought was not detailed.
The suit claims that the alleged victim, Logan Herring, was involved in an incident at Johnson’s residence in September of 2010 that resulted in Herring suffering “a concussion and brain injury, memory loss, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.”
The incident occurred at what was described as a pledge event at Johnson’s home that was, oddly enough, serving alcohol to underage individuals.
The suit claims that, after Herring had puked all over a couch in Johnson’s residence, Herring was assaulted by Johnson in a bathroom, where the football player allegedly punched and kicked the alleged victim in the head to the point of unconsciousness. For good measure, it’s alleged that Johnson gave Herring’s head a goodbye slam into a wall on his way out of the home.
What Johnson is being accused of doing is indisputably messed up. There’s hazing and there’s just beating the shit out of someone, and there is a CANYON of difference between the two. Simply put, if he did what is alleged then that’s not cool at all.
But what’s going on here? IFC says there were a few isolated incidents. There are twenty-seven fraternities on Alabama’s campus. What’s the point of suspending all of them? Especially if this incident is part of these suspensions, and it almost certainly has to be.
Do I smell Saban? And by that I mean do I smell burning sulfur? Creating the appearance of a school wide hazing scandal in which your player’s name can now be lost among the literally thousands of other potential offenders would certainly take some heat off of said player and the team. Especially when that player’s excuse is probably going to be him shouting “I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU” at Nick Saban before turning and running out of the room like a hormonal teenager.
There’s no denying that Alabama is a football school first, and their Greek Life is definitely culturally entrenched enough on the campus to withstand this slap on the wrists. Consider this another “Nick Saban is Actually the Devil” conspiracy theory, because that’s what it is, but it all seems a little conveniently timed to me. Way to throw Greek Life under the bus, Alabama.