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Boston University to reexamine men’s hockey program after Nicastro sexual assault charge

Via the Associated Press, Boston University made a big announcement in the wake of allegations of rape against Wings prospect Max Nicastro. BU Today’s Art Jahnke provides the details thereof:

In the wake of the second allegation of sexual assault by a BU hockey player this season, Boston University President Robert A. Brown will convene a task force to examine the culture of men’s hockey. The task force, says Brown, will make recommendations to ensure that the conduct of the team conforms to the “very high standards to which we hold all our students, especially those who represent the University in a prominent way.” Brown announced his decision to create the task force today in a letter sent to the Boston University community.

“We will ask the task force to look at our program with fresh, impartial eyes,” Brown says, “to determine whether the culture of hockey at BU meets the high standards of our academic community. If it does not, if the task force finds a culture where players are privileged or entitled or held to lesser standards, it will recommend changes to the way we think about and manage our hockey program.”

Brown says his mandate should not be mistaken for a judgment about what did or did not happen in the two cases of alleged assault. “Any determination about what transpired,” says Brown, “will be made by the judicial system. Rather, the convening of the task force reflects a judgment that when two similar incidents occur within a season, it is incumbent on us to look closely to learn if there are broader systemic issues that need to be addressed.”

The president praises head hockey coach Jack Parker’s leadership in calling for a full and transparent examination of the culture of hockey on campus. He shares the sentiment Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97) expressed to the Boston Globe earlier this week: “I hope it’s a horrible coincidence. I don’t want this to be the culture of our team, and if it is, we’ll change it.”

“I believe Coach Parker got it exactly right,” Brown says.

The task force membership, which will include representatives from the faculty, staff, and University trustees and overseers, will be determined over the next several weeks, as will the specifics of its charge. Brown says the task force would be asked to submit its report to him by early summer so that implementation of recommendations could proceed in the fall.

“Having an excellent hockey program is a Boston University tradition,” says Brown, “but so, too, is demanding excellence from the young men who play the game. BU has done both successfully in the past. With the help of the task force and the broader campus community, we’ll do so in the future, too.”

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These programs become myopic and don’t see problems right under their noses.  Look at Penn State it was supposed to be the perfect program.

Posted by 13 user names on 02/23/12 at 11:17 PM ET


I was listening to WBZ yesterday, the famous Boston news station that plays the same news, sports and weather over and over. They repeatedly broadcast this story about the BC hockey player. the tone of voice in the news announcers made this kid sound guilty even before any trials.

they crucified this kid and what is he, 21? People jump to conclusions about these sensational stories and even though he claimed innocence, he got kicked out of school and his reputation is mud.

There isn’t any real justice, just insane people shouting from rooftops, desperately trying to get an audience.

Posted by Jerry Z. from Boston, MA on 02/23/12 at 11:45 PM ET

TheFreak's avatar

Damage control mode.

Posted by TheFreak on 02/23/12 at 11:54 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I certainly hope that Nicastro and especially the young lady involved merely had a misunderstanding and that we’ll find out that things are overblown, and certainly, in this day and age, the rush to judgment is insane in terms of its scrutiny and pre-sentencing…

But we are talking about a sexual assault, and if this is true in any way, shape or form, I hope that Nicastro is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We kind of have to cross our fingers and hope that the police investigate this case thoroughly and without bias, and that the best-case scenario plays out, but when we’re talking about allegations of rape, it’s incredibly difficult to have any sympathy for the accused.

I’ve met the kid a couple times. He never struck me as a bad egg, but instead a hard-working and relatively humble guy, especially given his elevated status as a collegiate athlete for one of the nation’s biggest hockey programs, and just as a plain old human being, I don’t want any of this to be true because yes, this could indeed ruin Nicastro’s college career and hockey future.

But again, these are allegations of sexual assault, and such acts are completely and totally unacceptable and reprehensible. So I’m withholding judgment, hoping for the best and bracing for the worst.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/24/12 at 12:27 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Agree, George.  Let’s see what happens after the trial - if it comes to that.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/24/12 at 01:52 AM ET


they crucified this kid and what is he, 21? People jump to conclusions about these sensational stories and even though he claimed innocence, he got kicked out of school and his reputation is mud.

Actually he hasn’t been kicked out of school, merely suspended pending the outcome of the investigation but keep in mind the school has the right to kick him out regardless of whether he’s found guilty in a court of law.  If the school has reason to believe something untoward happened they have the ability to expel him if they choose to.  This almost never happens with high profile athletes because programs don’t want to admit there might have been something wrong, and don’t want to lose the player, but they do have the right to do it if they want to.

I have no idea if this guy is guilty or not (and stop pretending he’s just a kid, at 21 you either know right from wrong or you never will).  What I will say is that where there’s this much smoke it’s highly likely there’s at least a little fire.  Whether there is enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law remains to be seen, but I do think something happened.

Posted by RoneFace on 02/24/12 at 02:20 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Blah blah blah, let’s make sure we don’t hurt this rapist’s reputation.  Jesus guys.  You are right, since one in one thousand cases are false accusation….let’s lead with the protective disclaimer.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/24/12 at 02:44 AM ET


let’s lead with the protective disclaimer.

I do wonder how many would be quick to include the disclaimer, or say that he is “just a kid” if he wasn’t a Wings prospect.

Posted by RoneFace on 02/24/12 at 03:00 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Um, my best friend was raped and sexually assaulted regularly throughout her childhood. My best *#$%@& friend since I was 13. I’ve been her pal through the ups and the downs and the really really hard times. Don’t dare assume for a SECOND that I’m trying to defend Nicastro or take these accusations lightly.

Let’s see what the police determine and go from there, that’s all I’m saying.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/24/12 at 03:07 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

Shit, “justice” would be rough if the internet had its way. We have trials instead of a jump to conclusions mat for a reason.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 02/24/12 at 03:31 AM ET


Let’s see what the police determine and go from there, that’s all I’m saying.

You weren’t really one of the people I was talking to/about.  I just wonder if some of these commenters would feel the same way if it was a Penguins prospect, or a Sharks prospect, or an Avs prospect.

As far as what the police determine, they’ve pretty clearly determined something happened because they arrested Nicastro.  Their role in this is all but over, now it’s up to the prosecutor to decide what happened and whether he or she can win a trial

Posted by RoneFace on 02/24/12 at 04:20 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t want to see anybody’s life ruined, even by their own stupid and even unconscionable actions. I don’t care who they are or what sport they play or whatever. I really hope that what the police think happened didn’t happen. But if it did, I hope Nicastro gets what’s coming to him, too.

Now we wait, and for now, I’m gonna try to find a less pointy place to sit on the fence between rushing to judgment and not feeling much sympathy for Max.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/24/12 at 05:34 AM ET


I’m uncomfortably sitting on the fence right now too pending the results. I hope he’s innocent too and I’m not a Red Wings fan. But it sickens me how the news organizations ramp up the hysteria on this youngster, while somehow failing to name names in cases where guilt is more likely: aka crimes by illegal immigrants. There’s a rush to judgement here in full bloom. It’s possible that the girl is a golddigger but If he forcibly raped her, he should be punished..We just have to wait and see and fight the temptation to follow the popular trend of guilty before proven innocent.

Posted by Jerry Z from BOSTON on 02/24/12 at 10:48 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Jesus Jerry.  Immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than frat-boys?  You’re from Boston eh?

George, I am not trying to paint you that way.  I am talking about everyone’s initial attitude (especially in the first post).  If this was a sports-betting scandal, there wouldn’t be a single person saying, “he might be innocent.”  You wrote the post, so you set the context, and it makes sense for you to say that.  But, the fact that all these dudes rush to his defence, is sickening.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/24/12 at 04:19 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.