Two University of Delaware rugby players have been arrested following an incident Monday night involving the YouTube channel “I’m Schmacked”. The rugby team was implicated in a story by the student newspaper and has been suspended. The team goes in front of the University Friday to prove its innocence in the matter.
The incident was a party that originated at the residence of Anthony Ladisernia and Evan Touzzoli, both members of the rugby team. The band of party goers reportedly grew to well over 1,000 people following the promotion of the gathering by the “I’m Shmacked” Twitter account and hit the streets of Newark, Del., where participants walked on cars and blocked traffic.
“I’m Shmacked” is a website devoted to video montages of college parties with over 70,000 Twitter followers. Their YouTube videos draw hundreds of thousands of views.
It took about 75 officers from the University of Delaware Police, New Castle County Police and Delaware State Police to calm the mob. Ladisernia and Touzzoli are charged with underage consumption of alcohol, disorderly premises, failure to obtain a special event permit, and excessive noise after 9pm.
The problem for the rugby team is the student report in the University’s The Review, written by Jack Cobourn. His report is the only one attributing the incident to a “rugby party” or referring to Ladisernia and Touzzoli’s residence as “the rugby house”.
A report from ABC News calls the original party a “frat party”. Both Ladisernia and Touzzoli are also members of a fraternity. And other reports make no mention of the rugby team. Haglid said he believes Cobourn is a former member of the rugby team and had been to rugby gatherings at the residence where the party originated, which is why he associates it with the rugby team.
“It wasn’t a rugby party. We have our emails from our listserve, and there’s nothing that anybody sent back and forth to each other that said there was a rugby party Monday night,” Delaware rugby coach Bjorn Haglid told RUGBYMag. “There were some guys that were involved with this 'I’m Shmacked', and they happened to be on the rugby team. That’s all it is at this point.”
Haglid is not in contact with the school, who is instead dealing with the club’s student officers. Haglid said the team turned down a plea bargain of sorts, which would have seen the club suspended for four years. At Friday’s meeting between club officers and the university, Haglid hopes the team is exonerated and the suspension is lifted.
“Nobody on the rugby team knew anything about it, and we’ve got good documentation on that,” said Haglid. “So we feel good about our stance on this.”
Delaware’s second side competes in the DII MARC conference and its first side in Rugby East.