Curtiss Hall (left) and Campanile (right) are on display on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames. Following an investigation, the university suspended the men’s hockey club for the next academic year. (Newspaper)
An Iowa State University investigation into the men’s hockey club revealed heavy drinking, alcoholism, personal humiliation and financial penalties associated with admission, continuing membership and status — leading the university to suspend the club from competition for the next academic year.
Distractions revealed by ISU’s Office of Student Behavior in its investigation of the men’s hockey club targeted new or novice members dating back to at least 2018, according to a press release.
In addition, Iowa’s Departments of Internal Audit and Human Resources conducted separate investigations of ISU Recreation Services employees and club coaches and found “a lack of proper understanding and oversight of student complaints and club funding.”
As a result of student code of conduct and infractions violations, Iowa suspended the men’s hockey club from all competitions for the 2022-23 school year — extending the temporary suspension imposed in May when the allegations first surfaced.
In addition to the one-year suspension, the men’s team must develop and submit a plan outlining new and ongoing mass education and policies aimed at eliminating hazing and addressing alcohol and drug abuse.
The program should also be restructured as a “traditional student-led gym” – funded and managed like a women’s hockey club, which has a 17-student roster, student president, treasurer and secretary along with a coach.
Under its new structure, the men’s club must select student leaders, draft a constitution and submit it for biannual program reviews.
According to the summary of the investigation, “it is possible that the necessary adjustments will occur to the size and level of activity of the club.”
If the restructuring and training are completed by December 16, 2022, the team can resume training and inter-team squabbles in the spring of 2023. However, the team will not be allowed to travel or compete in league matches in the spring.
Full activities can resume in the summer of 2023 if the club complies with the mandates and does not commit further violations. Failure to do so will result in an extension of the suspension.
A summary of the investigation shows that ISU received two complaints about the men’s hockey club on April 4 and 7 – although details have not been released.
The investigation that followed found:
- Club members attended “junior parties” where they were asked to drink – forced to drink and use alcohol – and were humiliated.
- Members participated in a “kangaroo court” during which financial penalties for activities involving personal insult to new club members were assessed.
- New members participate in “Rising Rising” events that involve personal humiliation.
Three events, in particular, offered rookies admission, continued membership or a high position in the club, according to the investigation summary.
“The events created conditions that threaten the mental or physical health or safety of the targeted students, and included acts based solely on the status of the targeted students’ classification, and included acts of potential personal humiliation and acts in violation of applicable law and other university policies,” according to the summary.
Despite ISU’s entertainment services oversight of the club, department staff and coaches failed to understand their role or exercise appropriate oversight, including dealing with complaints about hazing, financial matters, and communication.
A year ago, before allegations of financial mismanagement and mismanagement surfaced, the men’s Cyclone Hockey Club had a three-division roster of 24 players each – 72 athletes led by head coach and general manager Jason Furman.
According to state records, Ferman, in his sixth season as a cyclone hockey coach and fourth season as head coach, earned a salary of $62,373 in 2021. The team also listed assistant coach, Brian Gibbons. Assistant General Manager Kevin Wee. Six members of the Scouting crew.
In 2021, according to the hockey club’s website, Ferman led the team to one of its most successful seasons in 15 years – taking the Central States Hockey League’s regular season championship.
Ferman’s training background includes an assistant position at Marquette University, time in the American Hockey League, stints with NCAA Division I and Division III hockey, and a principal training director with a high school team in Buffalo, Minnesota.
“After four years in Iowa, Firman has established himself as one of the top pros in (the American Hockey League), but that is not surprising, given the comprehensive and varied training resume he brought to Cyclone Hockey,” Issu Bio.
“Fairman oversees all of the hockey and business operations of the organization.”
Neither Fairman nor Gibbons are listed as employees in the ISU directory. Iowa officials did not immediately respond to Gazette questions about their employment status.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education in the OJ.
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