A northeast Ohio high school football team forfeited its first game amid an investigation into hazing, and a police report revealed disturbing new details about allegations against players as they prepare for their next contest.
Surveillance video footage showed two Mentor (Ohio) Lake Catholic players “being forced by their peers to do blindfolded sit-ups into the bare buttocks of another teammate” while attending a football camp at nearby John Carroll University, according to a campus police report obtained by Cleveland’s ABC affiliate.
The act is colloquially known as an “atomic sit-up,” the definition of which you can look up on Urban Dictionary.
While victims of the alleged hazing opted not to prosecute, according to WOIO-TV, Lake Catholic’s administration forced the football team to forfeit its opening game at home against Toledo St. John’s Jesuit.
“Lake Catholic High School strives to create a truly Catholic environment in which all students are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as children of God,” the administration announced in a statement issued to multiple local media outlets. “As such, Lake Catholic does not tolerate actions by its students or staff members which are contrary to our Catholic values and character.”
Lake Catholic’s statement described the “forfeit” as “a one-game suspension to a number of players.” Oddly enough, the Ohio High School Association termed the game “a no contest,” so neither Lake Catholic nor St. John’s will be awarded a win or a loss, according to newsnet5. Now, days from Lake Catholic’s next game at Cleveland Central Catholic, the details of Lake Catholic players’ alleged actions came to light in a police report.
Making matters worse, players from another local high school were disciplined as part of a separate alleged hazing incident at a football camp held at John Carroll University. Madison (Ohio) High’s administration issued the following statement to local media announcing disciplinary measures against individual students:
“Upon conclusion of the investigation, we addressed a single issue and disciplined those involved according to the student code of conduct. Our coaches felt strongly that they wanted to promote a culture of personal responsibility, teamwork, and community service, so they organized a campus clean-up event for the team before the season started. This was in addition to the discipline that the individual students received.”
Lake Catholic and Madison are not scheduled to face each other this season, which is probably for the best. Disciplinary action against players from two high schools attending the camp has to raise questions about the supervision of student-athletes by their coaches, and it’s unclear if any prep coaches face similar suspensions.
The hazing allegations against Lake Catholic and Madison student-athletes follow similar complaints from a Streetsboro (Ohio) band camp, where two coaches were suspended after underclassmen were allegedly pushed into a lake, wrapped to trees in plastic wrap and mocked during skits, according to Cleveland.com.