My name is Alex Martocello -- a 2012 York College graduate, two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Shipley Distinguishing Achievement Award recipient, York College's prestigious Daniel J. Klinedinst Jr. Award recipient (given to York College's top male athlete each year) and three-year captain of the York College wrestling team.
As an alumni York Wrestler, I am very much concerned as to how the allegations of hazing by several members of the wrestling team are being handled. I am appalled and heartbroken to hear that hazing of any kind has taken place at York College.
I'd like to start by saying that after the investigation is complete, I believe all of the individuals who were directly involved in these corrosive and abusive actions should be dealt with swiftly and without restraint. There is no place in the athletic or academic world for hazing. Hazing goes against the most fundamental values that athletics teach: dedication, integrity, perseverance, hard work and humility.
Unfortunately, comments made by York College's administration, most notably Paul Saikia, saying that wrestling "doesn't have a huge contingency" and "In our opinion, it appeared as though it was a culture," is like throwing the entire legacy of York's wrestling program under the bus.
The "in our opinion" comment should be limited to Mr. Saikia's own personal opinion. Suggesting that hazing is a culture of the York Wrestling program is insulting, slanderous and offensive. As captain of the York wrestling team for three years, I can assure you that hazing was never a part of our team's culture. Our focus was always on team goals and helping one another to achieve individual success.
York College wrestling has a proud legacy of success.
Our wrestling team has consistently been ranked in the top 15 nationally, and our coaches have also received national recognition. Historically, the wrestling team has been one of the shining beacons of York College athletics.
I strongly recommend that the individuals directly involved with hazing should be dealt with appropriately. I also recommend that those not directly involved be allowed to resume the 2013-14 wrestling season with the full backing of the York College administration and the college community, continuing the great tradition that is York College wrestling.
Miller Place, N.Y.