Big hit to CU football program

Senior Makai Hawkins plays in a recent game. As a result of a social media 
violation, two players have been suspended from the football team and Hawkins has left the team.  

A “social media violation” has led to the suspension of two Spartan football players and led to a third quitting the team after an incident earlier this month.

            When asked for specifics about the violation, head coach Tony Volpone said that the matter is being handled in-house.

            “The situation has been dealt with and certain individuals are fulfilling their stipulations in regard to said policy,” Volpone said.

The coach chose not to comment on which players were involved in the incident, who quit the team or what the violation was.

But as of Oct. 29, senior wide receiver Makai Hawkins was no longer listed on the team’s roster.

             Sophomore starting running back Moe Harris and junior linebacker Joel Antoine did not participate in Castleton’s game against SUNY Maritime on Oct. 22, which the team won 32-31. Harris and Antoine also did not travel with the team last weekend to face Gallaudet in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game, a game they lost 21-17.

This marked the second week in a row the two sat out of competition.

            When asked about the alleged incident Harris replied “No comment,” but one player on the team who chose to remain anonymous due to team policy confirmed that the incident was related to the social media app Snapchat.

            “It was people expressing how they felt,” he said. 

After initially denying the incident, the player said that the coaching staff instructed players not to talk about it.

He said that the Snapchat showed Harris, Hawkins and Antoine on video talking negatively about the program, the players and the coaching staff.

Hawkins denied a request of an interview.

Castleton Dean of Advancement Jeff Weld said that Castleton student athletes are generally held to a higher standard and viewed as leaders in our community.

“We try and educate (student athletes) on what’s positive use of social media and what might not be so positive,” Weld said.

 An email sent to Athletic Director Deanna Tyson asking for a comment was not returned in time for publication.

“From our standpoint we’re more concerned with how it reflects on the student athletes and what they’re putting out there and whether they’re portraying the best image for themselves first and foremost and then from there how it affects the school, community and the team,” Weld said.

But senior Jaime Nolan, a friend of Hawkins, doesn’t see what the big deal is.

“Everyone who is on a sports team complains about their coaches and teammates. Things aren’t always pretty. I think it was handled poorly,” she said.

The Spartans fell to 3-5 with the loss to Gallaudet, while having a 3-2 record against ECFC competition.

“It’s unfortunate when students make mistakes and maybe put regrettable stuff out there, but it’s a part of learning and it’s a part of maturing and growing into the next phase of life,” Weld said.


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