The high price of college fun

It’s usually a mistake to assign too much importance to a cluster of events, and these kind of shenanigans were likely more common in the long-ago, but it does seem that a lot of college athletic teams are suddenly in the news for boorish behavior.

This week Northwestern University suspended its women’s soccer team after photos of a raunchy hazing session appeared on the Internet. And steamy photos of a hazing ceremony, involving a male stripper, by Catholic University’s women’s lacrosse team involving a male stripper also appeared on the Internet.

The common denominator is photos on the Web. Northwestern also disciplined the men’s swim team and the students who wear the Willie Wildcat mascot costume for inappropriate hazing of newcomers, but they, in a rare spasm of good judgment, did it out of camera range.

But many of these gatherings of athletes behaving stupidly wind up on somebody’s digital camera and from there to the Internet. There is even a Web site,, that archives them and currently features a top 12 “Dirty Dozen.” And these are not reform schools but some of the nation’s best _ Wake Forest, Quinnipiac, Kenyon, Fordham, Princeton, Michigan.

The site’s publisher writers, “Our research indicates that lots of pictures (possibly tens of thousands) exist from big schools, small schools, private schools, public schools, liberal arts colleges and tight-laced religious schools from all over the country … ”

College kids will get carried away, but what is interesting about these latest scrapes is that this is the most technologically savvy generation ever to hit campus. They’ve grown up with the Internet, laptops, digital cameras, cell phone cameras, wifi, search engines and their attendant incursions into privacy. Didn’t they know this was going to happen? Their friends, their parents, classmates and Web surfers from Minsk to Melbourne will know what they did.

What appears on the net stays on the net, theoretically forever, which raises the question of how they’re going to explain these photos to their children _ and grandchildren. Maybe they should start rehearsing now.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)