Ooltewah High School in Tennessee has canceled the remainder of its 2016 basketball season after three players were charged with sexually assaulting a teammate.
According to an Associated Press report published Thursday (via ESPN.com), three members of the team committed an alleged rape against a teammate that resulted in the victim needing surgery. The young men, who are minors, were charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault. The incident was allegedly part of a hazing ritual.
"This decision is not a reflection upon the coaching staff," Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith said. "Indeed, law enforcement officials have to date found no evidence any adult acted improperly. Likewise, this decision is not meant to punish the boys on the team who are innocent of any wrongdoing and simply want to play high school sports."
Neither the victim nor the alleged culprits have been named. Smith said the season would be canceled so authorities can continue their investigation unimpeded. Police are still in the infancy of their investigation, which may include looking into whether an "ongoing pattern of assaults" was part of a hazing ritual within the program.
Allegations of two additional players being assaulted were brought up during the Wednesday meeting in which Smith announced the season's cancellation. At this time, no charges have been filed regarding the other alleged assaults.
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