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University of New Mexico probes claims of women's soccer team hazing

By Joseph Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - The University of New Mexico has launched an investigation into reports of a hazing incident in which female soccer players were made to strip and drink alcohol to excess, and were sprayed with urine, a school spokesman said on Tuesday.

Albuquerque TV station KOB cited a parent of one of the unnamed players as alleging that the abuse occurred on Sunday night. KOB added that the family of one of the victims has retained a lawyer.

"It's serious and we want to make sure we don't say anything without the facts," said Frank Mercogliano, spokesman for the university's athletics department.

He said the investigation was being conducted by a former senior university official who has no connection with the athletics department, but he gave no further details.

UNM campus police said officers responding to a 911 call arrived at a dormitory late on Sunday where they found an 18-year-old player extremely intoxicated and having trouble breathing. She was taken to a hospital, police said, while a second intoxicated 18-year-old was not transported.

"They were all members of the UNM Women's Soccer team and participated in some kind of 'initiation' event with other members of the soccer team, that included consuming alcohol," the campus police said in a report.

University President Robert Frank was in Mexico and unavailable for comment. UNM officials said they plan to hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to address the issue.

(Reporting by Joseph Kolb; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Beech)

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