Hazing Mess Derails N.M. State Football Champs

They’re not the first, they won’t be the last. Every few years a hazing scandal erupts at a high school athletics program and goes national. This year’s sad honor goes to Robertson High School in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Cardinals were state football champions in 2005 and 2006 and runners-up in 2007.

They’re not going anywhere this year after (via THE BIG LEAD) a hazing incident involving broomsticks at preseason camp led to the dismissal of six players and the entire coaching staff. One coach allegedly walked in on one of the brutal incidents and told the players to “cut it out” before leaving.

Not to get too graphic, but most of the hazing involved veteran players prodding freshman players (with shorts on) with broomsticks. The coaching staff did make some efforts to disrupt the incidents and had stressed treating teammates like brothers instead of tortured playthings, but it clearly didn’t register. By the final day of the camp, word of the incidents had made its way to administrators, parents and then police. The camp was ended prematurely and the returning bus was met by school administrators and police as it returned to the school.

Now the entire coaching staff is gone, six players were suspended or dismissed from school altogether and the team has been blown out in each of its three appearances.

Sad, sad stuff and eerily familiar. A similar incident happened with the baseball team while I was a student at my high school what seems like such a long time ago now. Lawyers, local and national media and everyone else got involved and things didn’t calm down for a long time. Expensive settlements were made, the school’s reputation took a beating, and I’ve never seen and signed more paperwork in my life to this day than during the annual enrollment the very next year.

That and more is in store for not just the coaches, administrators and athletes, but all students at Las Vegas Robertson High School this year along with the residual costs for years to come, not to mention most significantly what difficulties the boys who were hazed will have to go through. Not good.

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