A University of California, Santa Barbara club with a long history is in jeopardy. The university has suspended the school’s water-skiing and wake-boarding team for four years onhazing allegations. Team members said they’re being punished a second time for an incident that happened years ago.
The club was founded in 1981. Students tell NewsChannel 3, the university paid for the equipment and competition fees.
The team is all about fun on the water, but according to university officials, members went too far in October 2011 when the club held its annual alumni trip at a lake in Fresno.
The team captain, Ryan Jones, was a freshman at the time. He said some of the younger members decided to take a night swim, after a long day skiing. That’s when a new recruit started calling for help.
“I jumped in and grabbed him, brought him ashore. We called 911,” Jones said.
The boy was airlifted to the hospital.
But Jones said he and other team members were told not to contact the student, and Jones said he never learned what really happened that night.
“We weren’t allowed to speak with him or his family. We were told to keep quiet.”
After the incident, Jones said the team admitted some of the older members had brought alcohol on the trip.
As punishment, the university suspended the club for a year, followed by a year on probation.
Three months into their probation, the university said it was now investigating hazing allegations stemming from the night two years ago.
University officials released a statement, which reads, in part:
“…an additional four-year suspension was imposed in connection with an allegation of hazing. UCSB has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to hazing or the use of alcohol.”
But Jones said its not fair.
“We’re frustrated, we don’t even know what happened. For people on the team, we feel like they are robbing that experience for new members” said Jones.
When the suspension is over, students will have to reapply for club status, and they said that could also take time.