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Outside the Lines

Rites and Wrongs

Athlete hazing on the rise

Athletes call it leadership

A victim calls it abuse

Problems in youth hockey

States creating hazing laws


Message board: What do you think about athlete hazing?

Alfred University survey on hazing among NCAA athletes

Hazing resource website:

This online series is a companion to the ESPN Outside the Lines television show that re-airs Saturday, April 22, at noon ET.

Tuesday, June 3
Sports hazing incidents

Considering that an Alfred University survey found that 80 percent of college athletes had been hazed, the vast majority of hazing incidents -- on the high school, college and pro levels -- go unreported. Nonetheless, incidents that eventually gain the attention of the news media have increased steadily since 1980, when the abuse of athletes by athletes first began to receive public attention.

Below is a list, compiled by with the help of hazing authority Hank Nuwer, of 68 alleged and confirmed incidents on the high school, college and professional levels that received media attention. Most situations came to light through the police or court system.

Not included in the list are the deaths and injuries involving athletes who were hazed during fraternity initations (including fraternities dominated by fellow athletes), and more minor incidents, such Los Angeles Dodgers veterans shredding the clothes of rookie Chan Ho Park.


University of Michigan

J.T. Todd, a freshman, reportedly was given large quantities of alcohol in a player's off-campus house in what had become an annual initiation ritual. He allegedly was stripped, shaved, covered with jam, eggs and cologne and left outside in near-freezing weather for 90 minutes. Four other players also were hazed.


Toms River H.S. (N.J.)

Freshmen were abused physically and thrown in the mud. The head coach and two assistant coaches were dismissed because they allowed the annual event.


Nogales H.S. (Ariz.)

Seven junior varsity players said that they had been assaulted by older players in the back of the team bus. Coaches were acquitted but had to give up their positions.


Lowell H.S. (Mass.)

Five seniors were removed from the team for punching and hanging two sophomore teammates by their waists. Lawyers for the five seniors said the students had gone through a similar hazing when they joined the team. The coach of the team later resigned.

Medford H.S. (Mass.)

Paul McGaffigan, a sophomore, alleged he was forced to strip and run naked with a cracker in his buttocks as part of a traditional hazing game.


Lyndhurst H.S. (N.J.)

At a football camp in Pennsylvania, one sophomore was allegedly forced to insert his finger into the anus of another sophomore while 20 to 30 other teammates looked on. Two upperclassmen were dismissed from the team, and two others were demoted on the squad as a result of a school inquiry into the matter. No coaches were disciplined.

Holmdel H.S. (N.J.)

About 20 underclassmen reportedly played a nude game of Twister as about a dozen senior teammates urged them on. As a result of the incident, all of the school's 85 football players reportedly were ordered to undergo mental health counseling, and some coaches reportedly were disciplined.

Kent State University (Ohio)

The hockey season was canceled after 12 players were charged with violating various hazing and drinking laws during an off-campus initiation party that resulted in the shaving of heads and bodies of the students involved. One rookie nearly died after veterans coerced him to chug liquor and beer through a bong device.

Watertown H.S. (Mass.)

Three coaches and five players received suspensions after a series of long-standing hazing events at a football camp were revealed. Players were reportedly forced to sit in urine, do chores for veterans, and participate in a "cookie run," in which boys stripped, placed cookies in their buttocks, and raced across a field. If the cookie fell out, the player would have to eat it.


University of Northern Colorado

A slide into mud at the behest of veteran teammates during an initiation left Kevin Wolitsky, 18, paralyzed with his neck broken. The coach insisted the incident was "horseplay," not hazing. But the school later cited the case when pushing for an anti-hazing bill in Colorado.

Western Illinois University

Nicholas Haben, a member of the school's lacrosse club, died in a dormitory after being carried back to school following a drinking initiation in a wooded area near campus. Twelve veteran participants were given community service. The initiation had been going on for many years.

Brockton H.S. (Mass.)

Ten members of the Brockton High School team were suspended from school for apparently hazing new team members. The incident involved the slapping of students and the clipping of at least one student's pubic hair. No one was injured, authorities said.


Jackson State University (Miss.)

Coach W.C. Gordon took strong action by suspending four athletes and kicked two off the squad for allegedly hazing rookies.

The Citadel (S.C.)

Two freshman players left the military school amid complaints of hazing. One upperclassman eventually was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Ontario High School (Ore.)

Police said six veterans sodomized four teammates.


Wilmington H.S. (Mass.)

Fourteen students were suspended for a series of allegations including forced haircuts and the whipping of boys with a belt and rope. The school's superintendent, declaring that "boys will be boys," later exonerated three students and reduced the suspensions for the other 11, from seven games to one game and from five days to three days from school. The incidents happened at a New Hampshire football camp.

Lodi H.S. (N.J.)

Anthony Erekat, a member of the football squad, was duct-taped by the arms and legs at a football camp run by the team's coaches. He had his hair hacked off and had players spread feces and peanut butter over his body. Fourteen players eventually pleaded guilty and were ordered to perform 50 hours each of community service. They also were suspended for the season's first game but then were allowed to play when someone realized that the opening game was against a tough rival. The players served their suspension during a game against a lesser opponent. Erekat received a financial settlement.

Sunnyside H.S. (Wash.)

In the school's wrestling room, a 15-year-old boy was allegedly sodomized with a mop handle while teammates held him down and dozens of other wrestlers watched. The attack sent the boy, bleeding and traumatized, to the hospital for a week. He suffered internal injuries. Richard Melendrez, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless endangerment and was given 60 days in a work-release program. Second-degree rape charges that were pending against three others in juvenile court were reduced to fourth-degree assault.

Johnson Creek H.S. (Wisc.)

Wrestlers admitted taping a teammate but denied sodomizing him with a mop handle, as the victim claimed. Four juveniles settled their cases out of court and two were acquitted.

Clintondale H.S. (Mich.)

Dorothy Lee Mikesell, a freshman, said she was riding a school bus Saturday on her way to a softball game when two seniors pinned her against a seat and cut her 18-inch ponytail with a 4-inch jackknife. The players were charged with misdemeanor assault on Mikesell, whose mother said her daughter was especially frightened by the knife because she has been blind in her left eye since childhood.


Sky View H.S. (Utah)

School Superintendent Larry Jensen cancelled the last game of the football season and eliminated a playoff berth after a player, Brian Seamons, charged that he had been taped nude to a table, mocked, and then subjected to having his girlfriend see him in this state. A lawsuit is pending. Among other claims, Seamons argued that his rights to free speech were violated when the coach allegedly kicked him off the team because he would not apologize for reporting the locker room incident. Seamons is still pursuing a lawsuit.


Hasbrouck Heights H.S. (N.J.)

Two seniors on the football team were not charged by police or punished by the school after asking two younger players to take a lap around the playing field without pants. Family members asked the police and school to let the participants settle the problem themselves.

Wisconsin Heights H.S. (Wisc.)

Five students were suspended for hazing younger players, including the taping of one naked football player to a goal post before practice.


Duxbury H.S. (Mass.)

Players were caught shoplifting items from a store while dressed in their baseball uniforms as part of a team tradition. The team forfeited 13 games as part of its punishment.

Walla Walla H.S. (Wash.)

Eight players were suspended from the team after a hazing incident at a Boise, Idaho, training camp in which six freshmen were humiliated with improper bodily contact. At least two of the freshmen reportedly had toothpaste smeared on their naked buttocks. They and other students also had their legs bound with underwear and their shorts yanked up. Fourteen players were reprimanded for not reporting the incident.

Hillcrest H.S. (Utah)

Five top members of the team were suspended for their reported role in a hazing incident in the boys locker room during practice. A school district spokeswoman would say little except that the behavior was inappropriate, physical and threatening to three victims.

Roy H.S. (Utah)

Two seniors were kicked off the team after a group of sophomores complained they were humiliated during a hazing incident at a football camp. The seniors were accused of holding down the sophomores while one of them sat naked on their faces or the backs of their heads.

Alexander H.S. (Ohio)

Travis A. Hawk, a team captain, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of hazing involving several freshman teammates in the locker room showers. Parents of the victims contended their sons were sodomized with shampoo bottles after football practice on separate nights and suffered from mental anguish and continued harassment in school. Hawk was given a suspended sentence and $50 fine, plus community service requirement.

University of North Carolina
Men's soccer

Greg Danielson, a freshman, was hospitalized after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol a team co-captain's house. The team did some alcohol awareness-connected exercises as a community service.

Thorndale H.S. (Tex.)

Four players pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of hazing for sodomizing a teammate with a bottle. The assailants were ordered to apologize and were sentenced to perform 80 hours of community service, serve one year of probation, and pay the victim's counseling fees up to $2,000.


Canyon H.S. (Tex.)

Nine players and the head coach were suspended for an alleged hazing incident involving coat hangers in the locker room. Two players were charged with misdemeanor assault for "knowingly and intentionally causing physical contact with another ... that was offensive or provocative."

Prospect H.S. (Ill.)

Two players testified in juvenile court that they rescued a teammate after he allegedly was sexually assaulted with a foreign object in the locker room.

University of Washington
Men's soccer

The men's soccer team was placed on university probation and its members ordered to perform community service after campus police discovered three players taped to a luggage cart on school grounds. The three were bound into sexual positions.

West Virginia University

Seventeen team members were suspended for two meets after underclassmen were required to drink alcohol and perform calisthenics within time limits.

Westlake H.S. (Calif.)

Officials canceled the team's season after allegations that older wrestlers grabbed younger teammates, pinned them down, and jabbed them in the buttocks with a mop handle. The players were all fully clothed. Seven wrestlers were suspended. Police dropped their investigation after parents for each of the four victims told officials they did not want to seek prosecution.

Rancho Bernardo H.S. (Calif.)

Three players pleaded guilty to sodomizing a freshman teammate with a broom handle in a school locker room after a game. They served time in juvenile hall for the crime. The school district paid $675,000 to settle a claim by the victim. According to the sworn declarations by students as the case proceeded, a tradition of hazing among athletes had existed at the school. Students said that varsity team members would intimidate freshmen by threatening to rape them and also were involved in simulated rapes.

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Veteran coach Terry Petrie was suspended for one year after veterans were accused of coercing underclassmen into eating goldfish on a team road trip.

Joseph H.S. (Oregon)

Two players were suspended following an attack at a team picnic. School officials said the incident took an abrupt turn when the upperclassmen pinned the younger boy's arms. A senior seated behind him stood up, dropped his swim trunks, lifted the boy's shirt and rubbed his exposed genitals against the boy's back, officials said. Another senior then grabbed the younger boy's hand and shoved it inside the senior's shorts.

University of Oklahoma
Kathleen Peay and two other freshmen were allegedly required to wear an adult diaper and were blinfolded. According to Peay, the coach, Bettina Fletcher, led an exercise in which a banana was forced into her mouth as a simulated act of oral sex. When Peay bit off and spit out the banana, another was placed in her mouth then whipped cream, honey and syrup were sprayed on her hair and in her face, simulating ejaculation. There was a relay race involving pickles and condoms. Peay later quit the team and school, and filed a lawsuit that is pending.


Essex H.S. (Vt.)

Lizzie Murtie, a freshman, alleges that she was surrounded one night by 30 upperclassmen and forced to participate in a mock sex act as part of a team hazing ritual. Her mother is now pushing Vermont to create a state law against hazing.

Potsdam State College (N.Y.)

Eight members women's team were charged with first-degree hazing, a misdemeanor, after an informal team dinner turned into a drinking fest, according to police. They were also charged with seven counts of reckless endangerment.

Alfred University (N.Y.)

The university canceled one football game, expelled a veteran player and suspended six others after an alcohol-related hazing on campus. The incident occurred 20 years after an Alfred University student died at Klan Alpine, a fraternity preferred by campus athletes. In response to the hazing, Alfred University conducted a landmark national survey on athletic hazing.

Palm Harbor University H.S. (Fla.)

Five juniors attacked two freshmen on the team bus, punching them in their chests, ramming their heads into seats and rubbing a caustic liniment, called Atomic Balm, on the buttocks of at least one of the boys, according to the sheriff's office. The players received 3-5 day suspensions.

New Orleans Saints

In a hazing similar to a gang "jump-in," rookie Cam Cleeland suffered an eye injury when bashed with a bag of coins, and rookie Jeff Danish was sent through a window and hospitalized for stitches. Danish sued the Saints, teammate Andre Royal, an assistant coach and five other players, seeking damages from the team of more than $650,000. The lawsuit against the Saints and six of the defendants was settled; terms were kept confidential.


Decatur H.S. (Tex.)

More than 20 players were suspended after several sophomores were bruised badly in series of locker room incidents. Most victims were struck in the abdomen with hands and towels, police said.

Decatur H.S. (Wash.)

Twelve boys' players were give one-game suspensions, forcing the Gators to forfeit one game. The school's athletic director declined to give details of the event, saying, "It wasn't life-threatening, but it was hazing."

North Branch H.S. (Mich.)

One player was expelled and six players were suspended for a series of what police described as "terrifying" hazing acts at a summer camp. One freshman was allegedly hit in the genitals with a wooden coat hanger, another was sprayed with urine from a shampoo bottle and a third had his face forced onto another teen's buttocks. Two coaches lost their jobs for failing to provide adequate supervision.

Middletown H.S. (N.J.)

Lawyers for a 14-year-old who claims he was brutally hazed at New York state football camp filed suit, naming the Middletown Board of Education and his football coaches among the defendants. After the hazing charges were first made, prosecutors concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone under New York law. Some of the boys were allegedly stripped and struck in the groin. Others were hog-tied and used as "human bowling balls," rolled down a floor covered with gallons of liquid soap.

Kalaheo H.S. (Hawaii)
Girls' soccer

Two coaches of the girls team were suspended after team members were made to run around a field in undergarments.

Stevenson H.S. (Ill.)

Officials suspended four players for so-called "atomic sit-ups" -- in which their faces met with the buttocks of other players -- and other humiliating acts. The players pleaded guilty to reduced charges of disorderly conduct.

Raoul Wallenberg Traditional Alternative H.S. (Calif.)

Three players were arrested after a pool-side hazing turned into an alleged sexual assault on a team road trip. The San Francisco Examiner reported that "foreign objects," possibly coat hangers, had been used to sexually assault the students. Earlier, the students had been throwing the younger teammates in the pool. The coach was fired immediately and the team's season was canceled.

McAlester H.S. (Okla.)

Matt Warnock suffered a head injury after he allegedly was jumped by teammates in the locker room. The school suspended seven players for three days.

Hinsdale Central H.S (Ill.)

Three players were suspended and charged with battery for overpowering a sophomore player and cutting his hair.

Service H.S. (Ala.)

Several players on the two-time defending state championship team were suspended after two alleged incidents -- one that involved taping and smearing toothpaste in athlete' hair, and another involving sexual-assault charges in connection with a road trip to Hawaii.

Centennial H.S. (Md.)

Fourteen upper-class team members reportedly forced a dozen freshmen players to line up against a wall and hold their ankles as soccer balls were ferociously kicked at them in a ritual called "butts up."

Stevens Point H.S. (Wisc.)
Football, soccer, golf

Nine high school students, including football, soccer and golf athletes, were suspended for one-fifth of the season's games as punishment for the alleged spanking of 11 sophomore football players at another player's house.

Glendale H.S. (Calif.)

Eight players pinned younger players on the locker room floor and poked them in the buttocks with sawed-off broom handles and a mini-baseball bat, according to school and police officials. The players were suspended.

University of Vermont

Allegations of improper sexual touching, alcohol consumption and other hazing practices were confirmed by a state investigation.

Georgia Southern University

Four players were released from the team after stories about an initiation surfaced. The players say they are being treated as scapegoats.

Mansfield H.S. (Tex.)

Thirteen players were suspended after a junior varsity player was beaten up after entering the varsity locker room. The player was treated for fluid in his lungs and later quit the school.

Enloe H.S. (N.C.)

Members of the team physically assaulted another teammate on a school bus. After a school investigation that officials said uncovered several other incidents, six soccer players were suspended for up to 10 days for hazing six teammates.


Trumbull H.S. (Conn.)

Eight students were arrested and seven expelled after a new teammate was injured in a hazing ritual. Police say the victim, a student with learning disabilities, was stuffed inside a locker, slammed into a wall and sodomized with a plastic knife handle in a series of attacks. The victim suffered a serious knee injury in one incident and is receiving counseling for emotional trauma. A team member also reportedly told police that both the wrestling and basketball coaches at the school saw the victim hog-tied and did nothing.

Marian College (Wisc.)

Coach Paul Caufield resigned after a hazing on the team bus. Details of the initiation event were not made available.

North Yarmouth Academy (Ma.)

Two players at the perennial high school hockey power were disciplined by the headmaster, who declined to give details, describing it as "hazing" without "physical abuse."

Newtown H.S. (Conn.)

The team was forced to forfeit four matches after several team members were caught trying to initiate a freshman by dunking his head into a toilet bowl.

Absegami H.S. (N.J.)

Labe Black, a state champion wrestler, was arrested for allegedly making a young wrestler drink five beers in 20 minutes. Officials launched an investigation and suspended him from school.

Einstein H.S. (Md.)

Five seniors were suspended and one match was forfeited after a hazing incident involving a freshman teammate. The Titans also were forced to forfeit a match

Hilton Head H.S. (S.C.)

The wrestling coach resigned and six players were suspended after a player complained of being sexually assaulted with a broomstick. In a statement, police also found that wrestlers engaged in practices called "trademarking," in which wrestlers were hit, usually on the back, while sweating, which would leave a welt; and "dinking" which is a distraction technique used by the wrestlers during wrestling matches to defeat their opponent. Dinking "is when the finger is placed in or about the rectum area to distract the other (wrestler)," police said. The victims declined to press charges.

Sources: Hank Nuwer, author of three books on hazing; Boston Globe; The Record (Bergen County, N.J.); Capital Times (Madison, Wisc.); The Deseret News (Salt Lake City); Los Angeles Times; New York Times; The Columbus Dispatch; The Houston Chronicle; The San Diego Union-Tribune; The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.); The Tampa Tribune; Baltimore Sun; The Associated Press; Beaufort Gazette (S.C.) Anchorage Daily News; Raleigh News & Observer; Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Connecticut Post; research.

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