Early Sunday morning, Boston University men’s hockey defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested for an alleged on-campus incident of sexual assault. This is the second time this season that a BU men’s hockey player has been arrested on such charges. Former Terrier Corey Trivino is still going through the legal process following seven separate charges stemming from an alleged on-campus incident that occurred on Dec. 11.
Nicastro has been suspended indefinitely from the hockey team while the matter is investigated. He will be arraigned in Brighton District Court on Tuesday.
As the news of Nicastro’s arrest spread quickly across campus on Sunday, students expressed varied opinions on the alleged incident.
College of Communication sophomore Kyle Rohde said he was surprised to hear the news, especially in light of the fact that senior forward Trivino was removed from the team in December after also being charged with assault to rape, among other things, after his own incident.
“Just the fact that it’s already happened this year, it was mind-blowing when I read it,” Rohde said. “Just the fact that it’s already happened this year, for it to happen again, I just can’t believe it. It’s like, wouldn’t you learn your lesson? Your whole career in front of you, and now he’s probably under the influence just making terrible decisions.”
With this incident coming just more than two months after Trivino’s arrest, some students said they think there is now a potential to generalize Nicastro and Trivino’s actions as behavior that is representative of the entire BU hockey team. Students agreed that those generalizations, while a possible result of Nicastro’s arrest, are not a fair representation of all BU athletes.
“I think it’s kind of a shame,” said College of General Studies freshman Gabby Miller, “because I think that now there’s the potential to have that stigma against all the hockey players and all of BU athletics.”
Habib Khan, a College of Engineering sophomore, agreed.
“They can be good guys, I’m sure, but there’s always a couple of bad seeds in there who feel like they deserve more than they could get,” he said.
Other students commented on the hockey culture at BU and the preferential treatment they have seen athletes receive both in the classroom and in social situations. Students said the special treatment hockey players receive feeds into their bad behavior.
“I think that BU even has fueled the fire – how they treat them, how they’re featured, how their academic expectations are lowered and watered down compared to other students because they have hockey,” said CGS sophomore Sarah Mercurio.
Mercurio said Nicastro’s inappropriate behavior extends beyond just him as an individual.
“It’s not just him, it’s that whole group of friends and what they think they can do,” Mercurio said. “When you see them out, socially, how they act and what they think, how they think they can act, first of all . . . He’s going after [girls] just because he thinks everyone wants him.”
Other students agreed that the culture around BU hockey holds athletes to different standards in the eyes of the university.
“People come to BU for hockey,” said Cara Liebman, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “They’re put on a pedestal, obviously, not only for their lifestyle but for the privileges that they’re given, and BU is kind of provoking that. It doesn’t really say anything good about the university that nothing’s being changed even since the last [Trivino’s] arrest.”
And while Nicastro’s alleged actions will likely be connected to BU coach Jack Parker and the whole BU athletics department, as well as the entire university, not all students agreed that was right. Rohde said he doesn’t think it’s fair to put blame on Parker for the actions of his players away from the rink.
“Parker can only control so much,” Rohde said. “He runs the team, practices, games – he’s been a coach for so long and been such a legend, he’s had to have had some impact on teaching players how to be good men, and unfortunately, sometimes stuff like this happens outside that I don’t think should be poorly reflected on him at all. It shouldn’t, but it will, because this is also the second time this has happened in a year.”
But not everybody agreed that Parker is blameless in this scenario. After all, Nicastro’s arrest and subsequent suspension marks the sixth time in the past three seasons that a player has been either suspended from or kicked off the team due to his actions off the ice.
“It could go a lot of ways, not disciplining players enough or sending a message,” said School of Management senior Chris Laucks. “Maybe he’s just taking it too easy on them. You know, obviously we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors with the players but it definitely makes you think that even with kicking Trivino off, that happened and everyone was pretty surprised. It’s really unfortunate.”
Will McColl, a SMG senior and one of the leaders of BU’s student fan group, The Dog Pound, said in an email he will continue cheering for the team nonetheless.
“This doesn’t affect how I support the team on the ice,” he said. “Directing any disgust or disappointment at [senior captain Chris] Connolly, [junior alternate captain Alex] Chiasson, [junior alternate captain Justin] Courtnall, and the rest of the team that will be on the ice in [BU’s games this weekend against the University of Vermont] for the actions of those not there does not seem much different to me than directing it at any BU student not on the team. There is nothing so far to suggest that anyone else was present or involved in any manner.”
Tim Healey and Arielle Aronson contributed to the reporting of this story.