Hillside (Durham, N.C.) athletic director Bob Hill said Friday that he was “saddened” by the removal of five DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) football players from the program.
The Washington Post first reported the players’ removal, which is tied to an incident at the team’s hotel following DeMatha’s season-opening road win against Hillside last Friday. Citing a parent of one of the players who withdrew from DeMatha, The Post reported that players used a website to hire and call prostitutes, and some engaged in sexual activities with those prostitutes.
DeMatha principal Dr. Daniel McMahon issued a press release on the school’s website this morning.
“The incident referred to in the newspaper occurred after 5 a.m. on Saturday morning,” McMahon wrote. “The school first learned of it on Tuesday afternoon and began an investigation. 5 students and their families were notified that they would face disciplinary procedures. All proper authorities in the Archdiocese of Washington, the state of Maryland and the state of North Carolina were notified.
“The school stands behind our coach, Elijah Brooks, his staff, the school staff who monitored the trip, and our students.”
McMahon said the school sent 18 chaperones for 65 players. He said the last bed checks were at 1:30 a.m and that hallways were monitored until 4:30 a.m.
Hill said that after the game he “admired” DeMatha’s players, coaches and fans for their sportsmanship and professionalism.
“They were very gracious after the game,” Hill said Friday in a phone interview. “I was very impressed with everyone associated with them. To end that night with a situation like this is just really surprising. I couldn’t believe it when I read it.”
The incident was not surprising to some coaches.
NC Rising Prospects AAU (Raleigh, N.C.) basketball coach Kendrick Williams said he’s heard “for more than 10 years” about players soliciting prostitutes during summer AAU tournaments.
“You hear about it more at the Vegas tournaments; it’s pretty well known,” Williams said. “It’s very much in your face out there with people constantly handing out flyers and things like that while you’re walking around with your team. You’ve got to be proactive to police it. We keep a short leash on our players at every tournament and we do room checks a lot more for this very reason. It’s very unfortunate that it’s so prevalent.”
Citing two sources with knowledge of the situation, The Post reported that two players withdrew from DeMatha, two others have been recommended for expulsion and a fifth faces a disciplinary hearing.
“See that’s the thing, technology these days is something else,” Hill said. “It can be a great tool, but it can also be your worst nightmare. And the kids probably used their cell phones to do it. I mean how do you stop that? I feel bad for the program and the school because this situation doesn’t seem to bode well for them. It’s very unfortunate.”