Breaking Bad: Hazing Fiasco Is Another Black Eye For New Mexico Women's Soccer

  • Rick Chandler

Meanwhile, back on the University of New Mexico campus, the women’s soccer team was engaged in an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual. As you may know, their opener was just canceled due to the incident, in which two players were “forced” to drink alcohol and had some sort of liquid sprayed on them in houses around campus on Sunday. The women had to be hospilatized.

At first the liquid was reported to be urine, but it has apparently been downgraded.

University officials revealed the team made stops at several houses that night, alcohol was consumed and at some point, liquid soap or window cleaner was sprayed on the freshmen players.

New Mexico AD Paul Krebs canceled the team’s opener in Lubbock, TX, and ordered the players to undergo hazing-education training and perform community service. Freshman twins Danielle and Devin Scelsi, victims of the hazing, quit the team on Tuesday and withdrew from the school.

“In this particular instance involving our women’s soccer program, we failed,” Krebs said during a news conference. “Whether it’s coach (Kit) Vela, myself, as a department, we failed the young women in this program, that they didn’t understand and they didn’t know better that what they were doing was simply wrong and uncalled for and should have never happened.”

New Mexico head coach Kit Vela has been at the school for 13 years, which means that she also presided over the Elizabeth Lambert incident. You surely remember when Lambert, playing for New Mexico against BYU in the Mountain West Conference playoffs in 2009, pulled a Cougar opponent down by her ponytail and punched another in the back, among other aggressive and not-cool moves (see below). Lambert, in addition to gaining viral YouTube infamy, was suspended for two games.

OK, so perhaps two notorious incidents in five years does not constitute a trend. But we doubt that this is the first hazing incident with this team — the others simply were not reported. If coaches look the other way so that players can “bond” with hazing rituals, players like Lambert can result.

Vela gets results on the field — a Mountain West Conference title in 2011, and appearances in the MWC championship game three of the past four seasons attest to that. But at what cost? Come on, hazing is so 1915. One would think that women athletes would like to skip over all the crazy, self-destructive behavior that college males have engaged in for the past 100 years, and start building a healthy reputation of their own. Aren’t women supposed to be more evolved? Not in soccer, it seems.