Campus, Ice Hockey, NCAA, News, Sports

Students react to Nicastro’s arrest, suspension

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. 


  1. Jack Parker must resign

    Like Joe Pa at Penn State you just can’t coach a major college sport at 65yrs, give me a break!! Jack step down with your staff you have LOST CONTROL of your program. Age IS a factor and you had a great run! Enjoy your grandkids and former players before it is too late. You are smart coach, yes you should have left on the high note of that unbeliever last title game but sadly you did not. No more acting like Tony Sorprano at T Anthony’s when you stand gazing at all below you eating their two free slices and knocking people out of line when they come in with their BU Hockey gear in middle of the day whe everyone is in class… Sad but true and clearly BC and York on the scene made you dip for kids you would not have taken in years past… Woody Hayes, Bob Knight, Joe PA – time to hang it up Jack you did a GREAT job.. But it’s over enjoy your family!

    • BU Dog Pound Alumnus

      I completely agree. Sadly, Jack has lost touch with his players. This is absolutely disgusting. From knowing some of the current players personally, I know they are not all like this, but this is absolutely ridiculous. We need fresh blood in this team. Sorry Jack but your time is through. I know this is bold, but maybe end the season and make a real point to this team

    • How can u say it like that? Its not Jack’s fault. He tried hard to set disciplines to help them but just didnt work as much as he wanted them to be. He kicked vinny saponary out of the team and gave suspension on corey to set an example to team members last season. However, Corey got in trouble once again. He just did not appreciate what Jack has done for him. He ditched his career to get laid and it is his own fault. You can blaim Parker as much as you want but dint you think that fellow teammates should be blaimed? They were therer when Nicastro was harrassing a girl and Trivino was after RA. I do not think Jack is the BIG problem here like you claim to be.

  2. I’m glad we got an article full of speculation from students who don’t have any idea what’s going on. The last two quotes are the only ones with any value because they acknowledge the fact that nobody besides members of the team and athletics department really have any idea what’s going on.

    We’ve got one kid speculating that Max was under the influence, we’ve got another kid talking about the way Parker runs the team and his limited control over the players (which anyone who follows the team knows isn’t true… Parker is known to be among the strictest coaches in all of college hockey) and then we have a CGS student talking about watered down academics.

    Articles like this just fuel speculation, rumors and assumptions. Nothing of real value here and I wish I could unread it.

    • I 100% agree with your statement. I too wish I could unread this article. The only value it provides is in its demonstration of how quickly people (including me) allow our prejudices and stereotypes to impact our perceptions when very few facts are available regarding a specific situation.

  3. You can blame the coaches and say the player was “under the influence”, but it won’t take away the fact that we live in a grossly patriarchal society that perpetuates and normalizes rape culture (one that is made even worse when we put these athletes up on a pedestal and make them feel invincible and morally superior).

    I can guarantee you that Trivino’s case and this one are NOT the only cases of sexual assault that have occurred in our community; they are simply the ones that have been reported.

  4. A Former BU Athlete

    1) The perception of BU Hockey athletes being “above the system” is factual. They have their own workout facilities; they rarely interact with other athletic teams. I’ve seen them many times in social settings being grotesquely out of line in relation to their treatment of females. This isn’t something that just cropped up this year. Why is this so?–Their coach is the AD. Little know fact, but Jack Parker is more than JUST the hockey coach. He is the Executive Director of athletics!!! These athletes have been and always will be above discipline internally as long as Jack Parker holds this much power.

    2) The alcohol influence is NOT a BU Hockey problem; it is a college “generally” problem. Kids on campus all across the country are drinking too much. Andrew Long, former Penn St and Iowa St. wrestler, got 3 DUIs and a rape charge in 2 years of athletic competition. Coaches cannot be expected to babysit their athletes at all times; these young men are adults. However, the response that Parker has issued is absurd. Read some of his comments after Trovino’s dismissal. He is quoted as saying he knew Trovino would screw up again and that they are only wearing the domestic abuse stickers as a one-time gesture at the regionals. That’s a joke. How about sending your athletes to a battered women’s clinic and getting in touch with reality? How about sending your athletes to AA classes and showing them where they will end up if they continue on this path.

    Jack is no different than any other coach in charge of a highly public program. It really isn’t “his fault” but he has to go. As a former athlete, I am embarrassed to have just donated my hard earned to a program run astray

  5. I must say that I feel very bad about this situation having experienced a similar incident with a close relative. All I have to bring to this discussion is that there are 2 sides to every story. This relative was a student athlete who was also charged with similar charges but after everything was said and done, all charges were dropped but his life and his family’s were shattered! There was also an incident I believe last year at Mercyhurst U with a hockey player, and again all charges were dropped and the kid was found not guilty! Something to think about before you crucify those players!

  6. The whole college hockey structure is broken at our school. They have always been given special treatment , but when I was there in the 90s they were in class every day, they ate at the same places the students did, and they really were part of the school. Seems now we have gone the way of some other programs where the hockey players are more important then the other students. Maybe that is why the student crowds aren’t what they used to be…maybe that is why they are having issues filling the rink or even selling out the Beanpot.

    If this turns out to be true, BU should decline an NCAA bid. That said the player deserves a fair investigation, but it really is sad to read

    As far as Jack Parker, at some point the kids have to know right from wrong. Yes maybe his culture enables some of this behavior, but any freshman in Warren Towers can tell you sexual assault is wrong, and he does not have a coach in his ear all day, if thats the caliber of “student athlete” we need to compete, I would rather struggle

    • BU Dog Pound Alumnus

      Fair points. I completely agree with the first paragraph. The hockey team should really do what they can to be more a part of the BU Community and not act above everyone. Back when we were going for the national championship, I was good friends with Shatty and Popko. Those guys have tons of talent, but wanted to be friends with students. Now look at them, Luke playing minor league puck and shatty with the Blues.

  7. The Hockey Team is an embarrassment to the school. That’s why they are segregated from the general population. It’s always been that way. They have always been a bunch of self-important boobs who would be at the local Community College if they couldn’t put dee puck in da net. In my day, we laughed at them. Now it’s not so funny. Where the heck are the women’s rights activists ? In my day, they would picket the puckheads, and organize a boycott of the games.But that won’t happen. You are all sheep now.

    • The women’s rights activists are right here. As one of these activists, I believe that this issue is much greater than the BU hockey team. Although it is possible that the environment the BU hockey team is in may breed misogyny and normalize sexual violence, we cannot be too quick to jump to a conclusion. Truth is, rape culture is a campus-wide, (nation-wide, world-wide) phenomenon, and we must tackle it at that level.
      Trivino and Nicastro are simply the cases of sexual assault in our community that have been reported, and I can guarantee you that the number of those that have gone unreported grossly overshadow these two incidents.
      I refuse to live in an environment where patriarchal figures believe that my body is theirs to objectify and sexualize; where we are conditioned to accept rape culture and misogyny every day; where I feel unsafe walking home at night.
      That is why I believe it is of the highest importance to stop blaming sexual assault on alcohol, the hockey coach, or any other outside influence. Sexual assault and violence are a result of the everyday perpetuation of rape culture; of calling women “sluts” and “whores,” making jokes about rape, treating women as objects…
      It is those behaviors (which have become grossly common and normalized within our community) that we must stop in order to truly eradicate rape culture.

  8. Have we not learned anything from the Penn State incidents and the Yardley – Love incidents. A poor woman was murdered and many young men assaulted……enough with the second chances. NCAA should not allow any incidents the first time something like this happens the student should be suspended. There are thousands of athletes out there that are just as talented but may not be given the chance..time to change it up. My daughter is a two sport athlete and she refuses to do certain things to protect herself and the team she plays for. Maybe the recruiters should not only look at the ability of the player but the all around ethics of each player. Do a little more research; it is not hard. Go on FB or twitter and you can see it all. Because a kid can score three goals a game does not make him the elite. The athlete that chooses to do the right thing and can still play a great game is the ELITE plain and simple.