The simple answer as to whether or not hazing is commonplace is “yes, it is!”

Happens all the time. Especially in the realm of team sports, clubs, and things of that sort, where the inductees will have to show their willingness to be “one of the guys” by submitting to some kind of initiation rite.

You’ve heard the stories of girls wanting to join sororities dressing down in bikinis having their flabbier parts circled with magic marker.

Or of frat brothers making their new pledges eat weird things.

So is it all that unusual that, in the case of the Florence High School baseball team, we hear of an initiation rite that involves some sort of physical “humiliation”.

Most of us wouldn’t think twice about it.

It’s when that humiliation crosses over the line into assault and abuse that it grabs our attention and we ask, “...should this be allowed, and who should be held responsible?”

The baseball coach at Florence Township Memorial High School said the team is trying to concentrate on its game despite hazing allegations two weeks ago that led to the suspension of four players and an ongoing investigation.

Joseph Frappolli Jr., in his sixth season as head coach, spoke briefly following Florence’s 9-7 victory over rival Riverside today.

“We played a great game despite all the garbage,” Frappolli said. “Every time there’s an incident there are a thousand stories out there. It’s tough enough to come down here and win a rivalry game like this one without the other stuff going on. We are trying to move forward and win some games.”

On Monday, two sources said at least one sub-varsity player was held down by members of the baseball program and then bitten by older members of the baseball program.

One source said called the biting “a ritual that has gone on for years” at Florence.

Another source said the bites were “severe enough to break the skin.”

Florence Township Superintendent of Schools Donna Ambrosius on Monday said Frappolli could face disciplinary action pending the outcome of an investigation being conducted by the district’s bullying coordinator, the high school athletic department and the administration.

Ambrosius referred to the incident as “team misconduct” and “inappropriate behavior.” She did tell television news outlets the names of the suspended players, the hazed student and the number of students hazed would not be released citing district privacy policies.

A spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said today it was not involved in the investigation of the incident, which occurred on school grounds before the district’s spring break last week.

The status of the suspended players remained in question.

Ambrosius said there was the possibility the players could be reinstated but did not have a time table of when or if the suspensions would be lifted. The players have been suspended since the incident was reported.

Sounds to me as if no one wants to make a big deal out of it.

But since when is biting someone else not a big deal, especially if it breaks the skin.

We quarantine dogs if they bite someone, and yet we’re told a human bite is much worse.

If it’s true that biting was involved and the coach knew about it, he needs to be relieved of his duties, at the very least!

By saying, “It’s tough enough to come down here and win a rivalry game like this one without the other stuff going on. We are trying to move forward and win some games”, it’s pretty easy to see where his priorities are.

Or am I just overreacting?

To me, you bite someone and break the skin, you’re assaulting them. This isn’t like your grandmother giving you a little love bite when you were a baby.