For the second time in less than three months, Boston University’s reputation was tarnished by the actions of a player on the men’s hockey team. Early Sunday morning, defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested and charged with two counts of rape stemming from an alleged on-campus incident.
The accusations against Nicastro come after forward Corey Trivino was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a BU resident assistant on Dec. 11.
Both Trivino and Nicastro have been kicked off the hockey team and are not enrolled at BU while their cases continue through the court process.
The similar charges against two members of the same team has created many questions about the environment surrounding the hockey team and whether the team could have done more to prevent either incident from occurring. On Thursday, BU President Robert Brown announced he was forming a task force to study the culture and climate of the hockey team in response to Trivino and Nicastro’s alleged actions.
BU coach Jack Parker, who was unavailable to speak to The Daily Free Press until Thursday, addressed some of the questions surrounding his team in an interview early Thursday afternoon.
Parker said he thinks there are many differences between the accusations against Trivino and Nicastro, but acknowledged both shared similar roots.
“It points to a problem of control or drinking, and one of the things we talk about all the time at the beginning of the year is we lay down ground rules that we talk about in actions and consequences,” Parker said. “Specific consequences regarding specific actions having to do with drugs, alcohol, and the way you treat people around here and sexual behavior. We will talk some more about that, obviously.
“When we don’t get what we want as far as we don’t have people staying up to the standard we like, we deal with it.”
That the Nicastro incident occurred so soon after the Trivino incident raises the question as to whether the coaches did enough after Trivino’s arrest to help the team learn a lesson from it. Parker said he thought the team had been making progress, but he was willing to consider other ways to get through to his team in the wake of Nicastro’s alleged actions.
“I thought we took more action to try to give them more information,” Parker said. “Obviously what we are going to look at is, ‘What else can we do?’ We think we are doing as much if not more than a lot of other schools, but we have to look at, ‘What else can we do to give these kids, to make these kids better able to handle their situation here as a BU hockey player and as a student?’”
Many of the details leading to Nicastro’s arrest have not been made public due to the sensitive nature of a rape case, but Parker said he believed most of the team was at a bar with Nicastro on Saturday prior to the alleged incident. The team is allowed to go out drinking one night per week, and the designated night is almost always Saturday night. Nicastro is of legal drinking age. Parker said he is not aware of any underage players being at the bar with Nicastro and the rest of the team that night.
Nicastro was arrested early Sunday morning, and Parker was informed of the arrest around 8 a.m., the coach said. Parker suspended Nicastro from the team indefinitely while the matter was investigated. Once Nicastro was arraigned on Tuesday morning, he was suspended from the university itself and was therefore kicked off the hockey team, since a player who is not enrolled in school is not eligible to be on the team.
Nicastro’s alleged sexual assault follows a campaign on the part of all four Beanpot schools to wear white ribbons on their helmets during the Beanpot in order to raise awareness to stop violence against women. As part of the campaign, the team took a pledge to commit itself to preventing domestic violence and sexual assault.
Parker said he does not think Nicastro’s arrest one week after wearing the ribbon on his helmet will affect the campaign itself.
“I don’t think it has any effect on it whatsoever,” Parker said. “We participate in that because we believe in that.”
Parker also said Nicastro’s arrest is not a poor reflection of BU hockey’s recruiting strategy, as he said he does not believe these two arrests are a result of recruiting bad character players.
“I think one of the things we really try to do is make sure we recruit good character,” Parker said. “We do it in a lot of different ways as far as finding out about parents, finding out about school reports, finding out about a whole bunch of different things. I don’t think this is a matter of we recruited bad-character kids who came here and acted up. I think it’s a matter of kids who got here and didn’t know how to handle stuff that was going on here for them.”
As far as the way the remainder of the team has been handling yet another arrest leading to sexual assault charges, Parker said his team is definitely struggling.
“I feel like the team is very down,” Parker said. “I feel like the team is down because of what it makes them look like, how they look.
“Hopefully they can separate one thing from another, and the most important thing is being a good citizen and being a good teammate and being a good student-athlete around here.”
Parker addressed the possible response from fans, students and alumni who are now ashamed of or unwilling to support the team, saying he understood their sentiments completely.
“I would say that there is an awful lot of people that are very, very down on BU hockey right now, and from the information they have they probably have a right to be,” Parker said.
This weekend, the team will not have to face its fans and will leave behind the news cameras that have been parked outside of Agganis Arena. The team will travel to the University of Vermont for a two-game series against the Catamounts.
Parker said despite the signs and taunts the team may hear from opposing fans in Vermont, a trip away from campus should help the team recover from a difficult week.
“One of the things we want to make sure is, ‘Hey guys, go about your business like you’re supposed to. Go to class. I know this is difficult. I know people are probably staring at you in the dorms and in the cafeterias but you’ve got to be a student-athlete around here and take the next right step,’” Parker said. “And the next right step for us is to get on the bus and go to Vermont.
“I’m sure that there are some guys that might be relieved that they don’t have to see some people around campus because maybe they feel uncomfortable. Maybe they will feel uncomfortable when they walk on the ice in Vermont. Who knows?”
It’s risible how Parker fails to take outright responsibility for these incidents. He recruited these kids and it’s he who should be taking saying “This happened on my watch.” Clearly, there’s a failure on the part of Parker to insure the safety of the general population at BU.
Obviously the YouTube video that Trevino and Nicastro made prior to these assaults speaks volumes about the hockey culture at BU– and how little Parker did to address the problem. Parker should be made to step down. This incident will tarnish BU for years to come.
Disagree with the poster above. Parker is their coach – the biggest thing he can take away from these guys is a spot on the team. He has threatened to do that, and has followed through on that threat. He can teach them and inspire them to be good people, but he’s not their babysitter.
A week ago, I would have excused Jack Parker and insisted that the Student-Athletes should be responsible for their own actions. Since then, a flood of details and testimonies on internet message boards have surfaced. And it’s quite disturbing.
Apparently, the sordid behavior within the Hockey Program has been going on for years according to a few anonymous sources on the Boston Hockey Blog and USCHO. Given the Corey Trivino case, the YouTube video and Nicastro’s Facebook profile should have been a huge red flag for Administrators.
So either the Athletic Department was completely in the dark about what the excessive behavior of Hockey Players or they’re being dishonest about what they actually know.
I suspect it’s the latter. Money trumps moral behavior.
^ You’ve got to be kidding. To blame someone else for an ADULT’s action is just furthering the problem. The hockey players literally get everything handed to them at BU. It is no surprise that they have some sense of entitlement, even when it comes to females. To put the blame on Coach Parker would just further the notion that these ADULTS can get away with things without any responsibility for their actions just because they belong to the BU hockey team. Parker, nor anyone, can hold their hands. Once we stop treating these hockey players as the all stars of BU, then perhaps they won’t feel entitled to every female they come across.
I have been a fan from 1965 on and am at a total loss as to how this has gone on for so long. These cases of drinking and extreme behavior go back many years, I was going to list the names of all involved but this blog would be way too long. Jack Parker has always been, in my eyes, a great coach and if you look at his early years and the development of the Jack O’Callahans’ one could be proud of being a BU Hockey fan. But not so lately as he has lost control of the recruiting process. Does he not visit with the recruits at home any more? Does he not do a CORY check? I understand one of the freshman has a felony record. Trivino’s family backround was strange indeed. When he got his million dollar contract from BU ( to stop him going to the Bruins) he seemed to change vis a vis the typeof people he brought to BU. Also he does not seem to care about the schooling of his charges as many, I understand, just get by in school with very minor exceptions. I am about his age and a grad of the “B” school so it is very hard to write these words here on the blog. The whole coaching staff should be replaced at once for the good of BU and the Hockey Team.
I dont think Parker needs to be fired, but something is amiss here. Unfortunately, if I were a high school or junior parent with a talented kid looking at schools I would NOT go to BU at the moment. Get my kid tied up in a group of hooligans like this? Not the kind of environment I want my kid to grow up in. Yet again, as it has for the past 10 years, the pendulum swings in favor of BC.
Parker become an embarrassment to BU. We go to BU to get an education, not to make a bunch of pampered hockey players get away with everything and devalue our degrees. Time for Parker to be sent to the glue factory.
The underwhelming response to these incidents by BU is both striking and unfortunate. It at least gives the appearance that, as is its image, BU is driven by financial, not ethical or educational considerations. Would it not make sense to suspend play for even one week while the team makes a serious, rather than casual, attempt at some introspection? Wouldn’t it make sense for BU to make a stronger statement to counter its image as a school for spoiled rich kids and indulged barely-student athletes?
Parker states ““I thought we took more action to try to give them more information”. Jack that is not enough. Try closer monitoring of your players. Playing BU hockey not is a given right. BC seems to be able to not only attract the good player, but the good kids. Get kids with character as compared to those who view BU is a brief stepping stone to the NHL. You have done far more good than bad, but take a lesson from Penn State and attack the problem head on and don’t become the Joe Patero of BU. Your ultimate responsibility is to protect the integrity of the school and graduate your student atheletes. You certainly deserve the chance to reverse this trend that for one reason or another you played a part in, but there is a feeling out there that you (and President Brown) don’t get it. (From an alumi).
it is human nature to want to point fingers after these types of incidents. My perspective is that Parker puts more controls on his players than most programs, which runs contrary to the actions we have all wintessed the last several months. I believe it is more important to put less “controls” on the players and spend time helping them learn how to make responsible decisions for themselves. Good decision making is a skill that will carry over to all aspects of these players lives.
They are high profile figures on the BU campus and are given opportunities most students don’t receive. Perhaps teaching humility and basic social skills that lead to t reating others with respect and how to make good decisions is something the program can do differently Simply applying the golden rule of treating others as you would wish them to treat you.
From some insights I have been offered regarding the Nicastro incident, if he had a better grasp on treating others with respect and tolerance a good evening with someone where all are enjoying themselves would not have turned into this awful tragic ending.
Cannot believe that you guys want parker to get fired or resign. He was a great coach and he is doing what he can do at his best. Cannot believe that you blame on rverything to parker because of this.
For decades now, BU has been shameful in how it has dealt with sexual assault on campus – it’s not just a problem with athletes – they are merely the most visible face of the problem. There have been complaints, lawsuits, student protests. BU has done everything it possibly can – to protect BU – not to protect its students and assure that real social change, survivor services and prevention services are provided. I applaud the courage of the assaulted women to come forward. There are far too many women who will never come forward to BU authorities because of how others were treated. Some sexually violated students have gotten disciplined for underage drinking or dorm infractions (viewed as a ‘confession’ while reporting the crime to judicial affairs – while the rapist goes free because of ‘insufficient evidence.’ The ONLY difference here is it’s more visible because the (alleged) offenders are hockey players so this made the news. Nothing is going to change until BU enters the 21st century and develops victim-centered services and real prevention programs. As an alum, I know this place far too well and major changes should have started years ago. These women (and many others that we’ll never hear about) are victims not just of their rapists but of an old boys club that just doesn’t get it. Wake up, BU administration. This is serious stuff and needs to be faced front and center.
When John Sabo was charged with felony assault at the start ig the hockey season, Parker hid it until the end of the season. Since Nicastro was arrested during the age of he Internet, not even Zparker old over this up.