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BC Extends Suspension of Swim and Dive Program Through August 2024, Coaching Staff No Longer With Team

Boston College has extended its suspension of the men’s and women’s swim and dive program through August 2024, according to University Spokesman Jack Dunn. Head coach Joe Brinkman and the team’s coaching staff are also no longer with the swim and dive program, Dunn wrote to The Heights.

“After an extensive investigation that included interviews with student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and conduct hearings through the Office of the Dean of Students, Boston College has made the decision to extend the suspension of the Swim and Dive program through August of 2024,” he wrote.

The decision follows a September hazing incident, recurring issues with the program, and a team culture that conflicts with University expectations of its student-athletes, according to Athletics Director Blake James.

“Given the hazing violations and recurring issues with the program and its culture in recent years, the University has decided to extend the suspension of the Swimming and Diving program until August 2024, including team practices and activities, competition, and all instruction with coaches,” James wrote in a Jan. 4 letter to the team, according to a University release.

According to Dunn, the extension of the program’s suspension comes after a number of disciplinary measures were issued to members of the team in December.

“This decision follows sanctions that were issued in December to a number of Swim and Dive team members by the Dean of Students, including University suspension for the spring semester and University probation,” Dunn wrote in a statement to The Heights

Once a student is issued sanctions of University probation or higher, they forfeit good standing status. Students on University suspension cannot be present on BC property or take courses toward their degree, according to the Student Code of Conduct.

All swim and dive team members will also be required to participate in a hazing education program, according to both Dunn and James.

BC indefinitely suspended the swim and dive program on Sept. 20, after University administrators initially announced that hazing occurred within the program.

Then, in a letter from the Office of the Dean of Students, obtained by The Heights, BC clarified that it had not yet determined if hazing took place within the program and intended to fully investigate whether or not policy violations occurred.

A letter from an administrator in the Office of the Dean of Students—sent to a member of the team and obtained by The Heights—initially alleged that attendees of a swim and dive freshman event were instructed to binge drink and forced to consume their own vomit.

In October, 37 members of the swim and dive team filed a lawsuit against BC, alleging the imposed suspension was unjustified. In their legal defense, BC administrators said their ongoing investigation confirmed that hazing, involving power dynamics and excessive alcohol consumption, occurred within the program. 

Allegations of forced vomit consumption were absent from the University’s legal defense.

After a Middlesex County judge denied the athletes’ motion for an emergency injunction to reinstate the program, the members of the team dropped their lawsuit

While Dunn said the University does not discuss personnel matters, he confirmed that the coaches, which include Brinkman, diving coach Jack Lewis, and assistant coaches Brian Keane and Alexander Santana, are no longer with the swim and dive program.

Brinkman was named head coach of BC’s men’s and women’s swim and dive program in August of 2022, after spending four seasons as an assistant coach at Notre Dame. 

In the 2023 ACC Swim and Dive Championship, BC finished last out of 12 programs in both the men’s and women’s final standings. While the team broke 10 school records at the meet, the women finished 136 points behind 11th place Pitt and the men finished 52 points behind 11th place Miami. 

BC will be suspended for the 2024 ACC Swim and Dive Championship in February, the 2024 NCAA Championships, and all other meets through August 2024.

“It is the hope of BC Athletics that these measures will enable the program to move forward in the 2024-2025 academic year,” Dunn wrote to The Heights.

January 13, 2024