The disturbing hazing allegations that brought charges against six players and a coach of a football team in Oregon has now cost that team its varsity season.
As reported by OregonLive and the Corvallis Gazette-Times, the Philomath school board voted to cancel the remainder of the 2016 varsity football season as the program continues to deal with the aftermath of a hazing scandal that affected at least 11 known freshmen victims and has led to charges against the aforementioned six players and one coach. The team’s first three games had already been cancelled while further investigation was made into the hazing allegations before the school board decided to terminate the season altogether.
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The school’s two scheduled junior varsity games, to be played Sep. 26 and Oct. 17, will go ahead as planned provided the JV team is appropriately trained and prepared to compete, according to the Gazette-Times.
Meanwhile, the cases against the players and 22-year-old assistant coach Cooper Kikuta continue to move forward. Logan Williams, Casey Croy and Kane Rust all entered the juvenile equivalent of guilty pleas (admissions) to misdemeanor harassment charges in a county courtroom on Friday. While the full terms of their accountability agreements with local authorities was not made public, it is expected that all three will undergo counseling, treatment and participate in community service. Two of the three teens who came to terms in court have been notified that they are expelled from Philomath Schools, while no public comment has been made about the status of the remaining four players.
The Philomath coaching staff remains on paid administrative leave as the investigation into the incidents continues.
“I am disappointed to hear of the expulsions,” Judge Locke Williams said in court, according to the Gazette-Times. “We all share the blame for what has occurred here. To lay all of this at (the youths’) feet would be unfortunate.
“This was an unfortunate incident, but in some ways it’s good this has come to light,” the judge said. “It puts the spotlight on the issue of hazing. I’m fairly certain this has been going on for a number of years, perhaps even decades. And I’m sure it’s not unique to Philomath High School, but it needs to stop.”