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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bethany suspends golfers after racy picture

BY Tony Adame
The Wichita Eagle

A racy photo has the Bethany College men's golf team in hot water.

All 15 members of the team at the small, Lutheran school in Lindsborg posed naked for an unofficial team picture, with strategically placed golf clubs to cover their genitals.

Athletic director and golf coach Jon Daniels suspended the team for three tournaments — two that would have occurred on the same day — because of the picture.

Daniels was caught by surprise when someone e-mailed him the photo.

"I had no idea they were doing it," Daniels said. "After one of (the golfers) put it on Facebook, then it got sent to me.

"I've been around a long time and I think this is a case of young people who just don't think beyond the moment and don't realize who they're hurting."

Daniels said the team took another picture, clothed, before they decided to go with the one that got them in trouble.

"Until someone sat them down and explained that they did something wrong, they didn't have any idea," Daniels said. "But I think they understand now."

The Swedes will miss tournaments on Sept. 12 and 13, when Daniels planned to send split squads to the Evangel Tournament in Springfield, Mo., and the Central Christian Tournament in McPherson. They'll also miss the Oklahoma Baptist Tournament on Sept. 19 at Shawnee, Okla.

Team captain Jack Hiscock told KAKE News that the team would appeal the suspension to the school's president, Dr. Edward F. Leonard III.

Bethany has won 11 of the last 15 KCAC championships and competes in the NAIA.

"It put me in a bad spot as the athletic director and the golf coach, and it put the reputation of the program in a bad spot," Daniels said. "This is a scholar-athlete team, a team that always wins and is nationally ranked... but something like this makes all of that forgotten."

Tony Adame covers small-college sports. Reach him at 316-268-6284 or tadame@wichitaeagle.com.

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