Durham University student rugby team are banned over Savile pranks

A STUDENT rugby team has been banned from the playing field after running a sick Jimmy Savile-themed night out.

A STUDENT rugby team has been banned from the playing field after running a sick Jimmy Savile-themed night out.

St Cuthbert’s Society from Durham University will not be allowed to play for the remainder of the term after a social night inspired by the disgraced former BBC presenter.

First-year students turned up dressed as young girls, second years came as the former Top of the Pops presenter himself, while older students arrived in police uniforms and as reporters from BBC’s Panorama.

Disgraced DJ Savile is the subject of hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse.

During the night out, one player is said to have stripped naked in a bar at Collingwood College while other players tried to steal items from St Mary’s College Bar.

A student from St Mary’s, who was in the bar at the time, said: “St Cuthbert’s rugby team came into Mary’s bar and tried to steal the dartboard, and were violent towards anyone who tried to stop them.”

The team has also been banned from Grey’s College bar after a player deliberately set off the fire alarm.

After the night out, the college opened a full investigation and decided to ban the team from playing in all competitions, while two college bars also banned them indefinitely.

Rob King, vice president of St Cuthbert’s Junior Common Room, said: “ I do not condone actions like this by any institution, whether it’s a professional rugby team or a college rugby team.”

Each player who went on the night out has been made to pay a £50 fine while the club captains and social secretaries were each given 20 hours’ community service by the college.

The team tried to appeal the ban but it was overturned by the university.

They claimed that a darts team from rivals Hatfield College held a similar fancy-dress night out with a similar theme but were only given one hour’s community service.

A member of the team, who did not want to be named, said he was “disillusioned with the appeals process”.

He said: “Playing bans are unprecedented. Other colleges such as Hild Bede have had numerous disciplinary hearings, while the university rugby club, DURFC, have been involved in several serious incidents that have not resulted in playing bans. Would DURFC ever be banned from playing? Absolutely not.”

He claimed that after their request to appeal was sent to St Cuthbert’s Society vice principal, Sharon Richardson, the rugby club were not given a chance to fight against the decision.

The college will be celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, with BBC news anchor Kate Silverton and Tony Blair’s late father Leo among their esteemed alumni.

The college rugby team has one of the most successful records in Durham, winning the Men’s Premiership five times out of the last seven years. However, they will be unable to maintain their superiority until after Christmas.

On the Men’s Premier League website, the team has already been moved to the bottom of the table and a loss of 40-0 will be recorded every game until their ban has ended.

A Durham University spokesmen said: “The university has been made aware of an incident.

“We take such matters very seriously. The students’ college has investigated the incident and disciplinary action is being taken.”

 
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