Men’s lightweight crew head coach Andrew Card suspended five recruits and two walk-ons from his freshman team last week for violating team rules, sources on the freshman heavyweight crew team said.
Heavyweight rower Adam Green ’05 confirmed the seven suspensions and said that Card had been fed up with the behavior of the suspended rowers lately. The seven suspended team members had a history of disciplinary problems throughout the year that culminated in last week’s suspension, sources said.
Card made the decision last week and informed Athletics Director Tom Beckett on Feb. 8 that he had decided to suspend the team members. Although Beckett was not directly involved in the disciplinary action, Card had Beckett’s approval to deal with the matter.
“[Card] told me he was looking into some issues that had taken place with the team,” Beckett said. “He gave me a range of things that he was looking at, and I thought that it was appropriate.”
Beckett would not specify what action Card was taking or how it would affect the rest of the lightweight crew team, which won the national championship in 2000.
Card did not respond to multiple phone calls, and lightweight team members would not comment on the situation.
Some members of the men’s heavyweight crew team first found out about Card’s investigation into the actions of the seven freshmen Thursday after practice, when coach Mike Irwin questioned them about their activities outside of crew. The rest of the heavyweight crew team found out about the suspension on Feb. 9 in a general team meeting.
“[Irwin] said [the suspended freshmen] had been in trouble multiple times, that it was no single event,” heavyweight crew team member Thomas Koh ’05 said. “He didn’t want to just sit back and assume the team was doing fine. He wanted to make sure we were OK.”
This disciplinary action comes 14 months after the heavyweight crew team was suspended Dec. 5, 2000, following an alleged hazing incident that involved underage drinking. The team was eventually cleared of hazing charges but remained stripped of its varsity status until the beginning of spring competition.
While this disciplinary action only affects the status of seven lightweight crew team members, the message resonates with both the lightweight and heavyweight crew teams.
“The last thing we would want to do is compromise all of the work we put in during the off-season,” heavyweight crew team member John Hopkins ’05 said. “Our number one priority needs to be to bring honor to this team.”
The lightweight team begins spring competition March 31 against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.