Colleges

Salve Regina investigating alleged hazing of football players

Salve Regina University has launched an internal investigation into allegations of hazing within its football program, according to an official at the Newport, R.I., school.

The university president, vice president, and athletic director received an e-mail Friday morning from a parent citing allegations of hazing perpetrated against underclassmen on the team. Salve Regina’s chief communications officer, Kristine Hendrickson, said the e-mail detailed different types of inappropriate conduct by upperclassmen, including some that were “sexual in nature.”

The letter also mentioned inappropriate behavior by an assistant coach, though university officials did not specify.

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Hendrickson said the school has begun conducting interviews but had not handed out any punishment as of Friday afternoon. A staff member from the Office of Student Affairs was deployed to supervise all football activities.

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“We’re proceeding to try and make sure that we can identify everything that is alleged to have taken place and how we need to follow up according to our policies,” said Hendrickson.

The Newport Police have not become involved at this stage.

Football coach Kevin Gilmartin said he had no knowledge of hazing by players or inappropriate behavior by any member of his coaching staff.

“I am completely shocked and flabbergasted,” said Gilmartin. “We’ve never been close to being accused of anything. I haven’t seen anything. I think the guys have been great with their teammates. They take care of them.”

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In an incident separate from the investigation, two players were hospitalized after suffering from heat exhaustion during Tuesday’s first summer practice. Gilmartin said conditioning tests were conducted that day and he didn’t deviate from his normal practice routine.

“We definitely dial it back [on hot days],” said Gilmartin, “and we have mandatory full breaks for a full five minutes throughout the practices.”

Two returning starters, a sophomore and a junior, began suffering from full-body cramping and dehydration following drills.

“Both of these individuals — we have EMTs right on campus — were treated and then evaluated according to protocol by Newport Hospital,” said Hendrickson.

Both players took Wednesday off before returning to practice.

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“I think both of those guys were in great shape,” said Gilmartin. “They’re trying to be leaders of the team and they might’ve pushed themselves even harder than they had to.

“They’re practicing today. They’re fine. They felt better than the other guys because they had the IV.”

Owen Pence can be reached at owen.pence@globe.com.