What began as a joke on team picture day resulted in a three-tournament suspension for the men’s golf team at Bethany College, a Lutheran school in Lindsborg, Kan., that competes at the NAIA level.
Members of the team began by posing with all their clothes on before undressing to take the controversial picture that eventually ended up on Facebook, KWCH-Channel 12 of Wichita, Kan., reported.
“We all have our shirts off, our shorts to ankles and we are holding golf clubs in front covering up our, um, male parts,” senior Jac Hiscock told KWCH. He explained that the picture was meant to be a joke.
The photo violated no Bethany athletic regulations, but it was cited as an inappropriate use of the school’s name after the players were tagged as members of the Bethany College men’s golf team on Facebook. School officials have suspended the team for the first three conference events of the season, according to KWCH.
“I just want to make sure they understand life choices and consequences,” head coach Jon Daniels said of the punishment. Daniels also is Bethany’s athletic director.
The team will appeal the suspension, according to KWCH, and Bethany is scheduled to have a decision by week’s end.
Jono Painter, a former Bethany player who stays in touch with the Swedes golf program, called the suspension “a bit harsh.”
“They were just having some fun and probably did not think about it before they did it and didn’t think it would get the reaction it did,” said Painter, who played at Bethany from 2005 to ’09. Painter, an aspiring One Asia Tour player, spoke with Golfweek from Avondale Golf Club in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, where he works in the pro shop.
“I think most of the students at Bethany got a laugh out of it,” Painter said, “but not the coach or the NAIA compliance officer at the school.”