13 HS football players suspended from team after hazing allegations surface

by: Jeff Smith Updated:

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YORK COUNTY, S.C.,CLOVER, S.C. —

York County investigators are still interviewing potential suspects in a series of hazing incidents at Clover High School.

Thirteen varsity football players have been suspended from the team. They've also been suspended from school next week. School officials said depending on what the criminal investigation reveals, some players could be expelled. Officers haven't identified the suspects.

Officers said it happened in the locker room before practice.

Isiah Kent, a defensive back on the freshman team, said all 13 suspects need psychological evaluations. School officials said several of his teammates were victims of hazing by varsity players. Kent said he doesn't know which teammates suffered through the hazing.

"But it's one of my teammates that this happened to," he said. "I think a kid that would do that really needs to be in a mental hospital."

As the team took the field and tried to focus on football Friday night, fans said the 13 suspensions are fresh on their minds. School spokesman Mychal Frost said the hazing happened three different times, to three different freshmen, over the past two weeks.

"The allegations that we're dealing with at this point are certainly well beyond anything that would be, quote unquote, 'accepted practice' in the athletic world," Frost said.

Frost said a victim came forward to an administrator at school on Thursday, saying the hazing was "ongoing" and that the older players were bragging about it.

They asked the sheriff's office to investigate.

"With the number of students involved, and the accusations and allegations that are out there, the investigation is certainly quite large at this point," Frost said.

Neither the school district nor the Sheriff's Office said what they believe happened in the locker room.

"We'll still be interviewing potential suspects, we'll still be interviewing victims, interviewing staff at the school, and of course anyone else that comes forward," said Lt. Mike Baker, with the York County Sheriff's Office.

Kent said as an underclassman, he'd be afraid if the players behind the hazing are allowed back in school.

It doesn't appear that the coaching staff was aware of the hazing. Mychal Frost said the coaches were "startled and upset" by the allegations.

The school said it will wait until the criminal investigation is complete before deciding further punishment.

The Sheriff's Office doesn't have a timetable for when that will happen. Lt. Baker said investigators will still be conducting interviews into next week.