The University of Oregon's ultimate team has had its season ended after members of the team played naked in an April 11 game against Oregon State. The decision was made by a five-member student board that governs club sports.
Team co-captain Dusty Becker apologized to the board, but wasn't too apologetic.
"Speeding, drinking, nudity - they're not bad things," he said. "They're things a big portion of the community doesn't think are wrong."
The team has been under scrutiny for previous complaints about drinking and excess partying and traveled with a chaperon.
Since being placed on probation, the team has traveled with chaperones, team co-captain Steve Kenton said. The adult chaperones were present on the Saturday afternoon at Oregon State, when the club's A and B teams, scheduled to play each other, decided to play a naked point - a ritual in Ultimate where one team plays without shirts and the other plays without pants or underwear.
"To run around naked is just kind of a hippie, ultimate thing," Becker said. "We didn't think there was anything wrong at the time."
A female trainer complained and this triggered an investigation by the student board. The team, which is a powerhouse in collegiate ultimate, is appealing the decision and it needs to be reinstated to play in a crucial regional tournament this weekend.
"If this had been an isolated incident we would have treated it much differently," said Jeff Gibb, a member of the club sports executive committee. "I'm not sure I can say that I trust the judgment of the Ultimate team - that's why it's so hard for me to give you another chance."
This decision strikes me as overkill. Anyone who knows about the sport knows that ultimate is freewheeling and draws people who are often free-spirited and non-conformist. In a player Q&A on the team's site, one was asked to name 10 former presidents without looking it up. His answer? "Morgan Freeman, Bill Pullman, Billy Bob Thornton, James Cromwell, Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Kline (twice), Harrison Ford, Jack Lemon, James Garner."
In the absence of evidence that their actions harmed anyone, I say let them play. I loved this comment on the Seattle Times article about the suspension:
Aw, let the hippies have their fun. People who play Ultimate are usually in really good shape and therefore pretty easy on the eyes, even unclad.
Was the board's decision the correct one, or was it too harsh?
Hat tip to Deadspin.