The York College wrestling team will not participate in a dual tournament scheduled for Saturday.
Paul Saikia, the school's assistant dean for athletics and recreation, said the Spartans will not travel to Wilkes University this weekend for the John Reese Duals no matter the school's ruling in a hazing investigation.
The wrestling program has been placed on interim suspension from all activities since Oct. 30 as the school continues its investigation into hazing incidents that occurred among members of the team. The school is still slated to release its findings of the investigation Friday, the day before the dual tournament at Wilkes. If the season were to be reinstated Friday, it wouldn't be plausible for the team to compete the next day at the John Reese Duals after not practicing for nearly two weeks, Saikia said. The team's next scheduled event, a match at Lycoming on Tuesday, Nov. 12, is still in play, Saikia said.
The team already missed an individual tournament this past weekend at the Monarch Invitational in Wilkes-Barre.
Investigation: The York College office of campus safety and school administrators are leading the investigation. Thirty of the team's 40 wrestlers have been interviewed to this point, according to Saikia.
"More interviews are scheduled for Monday and maybe a few more on Tuesday in bringing some people back in and some meetings to piece it all together," he said. "I think one of the things we're very concerned about is trying to identify if there are innocent people, who they are and make sure they get it right. We don't want this to linger. We want to, by the end of the week, say: 'Here's where we stand as a program and a college and here's where each person stands.'"
The school is also interviewing 13 wrestlers who were cut from the roster following wrestle-offs -- an individual tournament among the team members to decide its 10 starters -- held Oct. 25, Saikia said.
Based on the information gathered thus far, Saikia confirmed there was more than one hazing incident that occurred in the months of September or October. He said the incidents did not take place in the team's wrestling room, located inside the Grumbacher Center on the college campus. Saikia declined to say how many wrestlers were involved.
"I can't at this point and that's because we don't know. People are under the impression that it was just a couple of bad apples. We're trying to figure out specifically how many people," he said.
Saikia also said that the job of first-year coach Duane Bastress is not in jeopardy.
"What I will tell you, with the way the investigation is going on right now, it's made clear that this isn't something that was condoned by our staff," Saikia said.
Details of the incidents will be made public upon the school's conclusion of the investigation, Saikia said.
"My hope is that there will be disclosure. I think it's important for the school to be as open as we can with anybody," he said. "It's important for people to know, not in order to defend whatever decision we make, but there are a lot of people who want to know 'Why did you come to this conclusion or that conclusion?'"
Eligibility: Saikia is hoping the suspension will soon be lifted, but if the entire season is suspended, those found innocent in the investigation will not lose any athletic eligibility.
"By NCAA rule you have 10 full-time semesters in order to play out the full-time eligibility. For those people considered innocent in all of this, they would not be charged a used semester because we would have stopped the program, it's not their doing. The people at the cause of the stoppage would (lose a year of athletic eligibility)."
According to a news release sent out by the school last week, the suspension was because of activity that may have violated the student code of conduct and the student-athlete code of conduct, including hazing. Individual students who are believed to be in violation of the college's student code of conduct and student-athlete code of conduct will be scheduled for judicial board hearings in the near future, according to the release.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.