Queen’s women’s field hockey team has been suspended indefinitely for an off-field incident.
Queen’s Athletics and Recreation announced Thursday that the team had been reprimanded for violating the school’s Student-Athlete Guidelines for Behaviour.
As a result of Athletics and Recreation’s initial investigation, the team will forfeit their next two games, against the Waterloo Warriors on Sept. 29 and the York Lions on Sept. 30.
“The athletes made an error in judgment, and they need to be accountable for that,” said Athletics Director Leslie Dal Cin.
A disciplinary panel will convene early next week to decide if the team will face any further sanctions. Dal Cin said previous disciplinary decisions have contained educational and community service components, in addition to on-field consequences.
The team will remain under suspension until the disciplinary process is concluded.
Because Queen’s field hockey is classified as a varsity club, the investigation falls under Athletics and Recreation’s Sport Club disciplinary stream.
The three-person panel will be composed of an athlete and coach from another Varsity Club, as well as Recreation and Sport Clubs Manager Marg Jones.
Dal Cin said the panel will review the incident, taking into consideration the team’s degree of remorse.
“The range of penalties and sanctions the discipline panel can impose is clearly set out in our discipline policy,” she said. “It can range from verbal warnings to a recommendation to suspend the program.”
Although Dal Cin wouldn’t comment on how Athletics and Recreation was initially notified of the field hockey incident, she said all disciplinary notices they receive are investigated. These notices can come from anyone, including anonymous or eyewitness reports.
The field hockey investigation began Monday night, before the suspension was announced on Thursday.
The team will have the opportunity to appeal the disciplinary panel’s decision. A Notice of Appeal must be submitted within three business days of the decision being announced with the written consent of the majority of team members.
Athletics and Recreation’s Appeal Policy and Procedure states that decisions can only be appealed on procedural grounds — not the merit of the decision itself.
These grounds are limited to the availability of new evidence or “a substantial procedural irregularity in the consideration of the case.”
The Appeal Panel consists of three members: Dal Cin, a Gaels student-athlete and Sarah MacKenzie, the Chair of the AMS Judicial Committee.
In 2010, 11 players on Queen’s baseball team received two-year suspensions for a pair of alcohol-related incidents.
Last week, Wilfrid Laurier University suspended the school’s baseball team for four games, for hazing incidents that violated the school’s Student Athlete Code of Conduct.
“Have athletes and teams in the past made errors in judgment? Sure they have,” Dal Cin said. “It’s not necessarily that error — it’s how they learn from it, take accountability for it and don’t do it again.”
The field hockey team is led by head coach Mary-Ann Reid and three senior co-captains.
“We’re accepting it and we’re going to move on,” said co-captain Marina Giovanoli. “There’s nothing else we can do, at this point.”
The team is 1-4 in OUA play this year, having beaten McGill 2-0 on Sept. 23. After the two forfeited games, they’ll have five games left in the season.
“It sucks because it’s a short season, and we’re right in the middle of it,” Giovanoli said, who’s playing in her fourth year of eligibility.
“It’s been a crazy week.”
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