In the wake of their arrests at a house party Saturday night, Western Michigan hockey players Mark Wilkinson and Steven Rymsha have been placed on indefinite suspension, WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard announced today. Additionally, head coach Bill Wilkinson, Mark Wilkinson’s father, has been temporarily suspended while the matter is under investigation.
The arrests took place at a party held at a house owned by Bill Wilkinson and rented to Mark Wilkinson, Rymsha and two other players, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. According to the players, the party was attended solely by hockey players, and there were reports of hazing, which is prohibited under WMU’s student code.
“In light of the incidents which have come to our attention, we felt it was important to remove Coach Wilkinson from his current duties and responsibilities to avoid any possible conflict of interest,” Beauregard said. Assistant coach Jim Culhane was named acting head coach.
“I’m disappointed that I’m not able to handle the situation as a coach,” Bill Wilkinson told the Gazette, “but I can understand their point of view.”
Beauregard said she expects WMU’s internal investigation to focus on the reports of hazing, as well as possible NCAA issues with the players’ living arrangements. A hockey team golf outing earlier Saturday was also being examined; the investigation is expected to last two or three days.