Mohawk football season to resume after hazing investigation

Friday, September 2, 2022 | 5:26 PM

Mohawk’s football season will resume after an investigation into allegations of hazing found misconduct was limited to a “small number of individual players” and was not part of a systemic problem, the school district superintendent’s office announced in a statement released Friday.

“While the incident is disturbing and unacceptable, it is not a part of the District’s culture and appropriate parties have been and will be held accountable,” the statement read.

According to the statement, the school district was made aware of hazing allegations on Aug. 17 and contacted Lawrence County Children and Youth Service and the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. The school district and DA’s office began an investigation.

While the investigation continued, Mohawk’s games against Union scheduled for Aug. 26 and Quaker Valley scheduled for Friday were canceled.

According to the statement, the DA’s office released a letter Friday that said the investigation concluded that any misconduct “was not part of an institutional practice and had not occurred previously” and “was limited to a small number of individual players and no adults had preexisting knowledge of any hazing.”

The letter, signed by district attorney Joshua Lamancusa, said there was “no evidence of a malignant culture or knowledge and/or complicit behavior by any district employee.”

The letter said the DA’s office set out to investigate whether “several upperclassmen football players committed acts of hazing and abuse upon several underclassmen teammates on school property” and interviewed 20 players, three coaches/trainers an numerous administration officials before reaching its conclusion.

The superintendent’s office said counseling and support has been offered to students and an NCAA anti-hazing assembly was held Aug. 31 with “the football team invited to attend.”

“Today, the District has announced to the team and the District community that we believe it is safe and appropriate to resume Varsity Football operations,” the statement read. “The District is presently making arrangements to field a team and resume competition.”

Mohawk is scheduled to visit Laurel next Friday.


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