(08/31/12) - This is the first big weekend of college football, and there is a bit of controversy.
A criminal investigation continues at Saginaw Valley State University after a would-be freshman on the football team says he was sexually harassed in the team locker room.
Five SVSU players have been suspended for the season opener, and that would-be freshman has left the school.
The five suspended players are the subject of a criminal investigation laid out in a report that indicates that on Aug. 13, a 17-year-old freshman football player claims that after he refused to sing in front of the team in the cafeteria, a team tradition, numerous teammates surrounded him inside the Ryder Center, some naked, and touched him with their private parts.
The report indicates that the incident was investigated as fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a high court misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
It does not refer to the incident as hazing, which is against the law and university rules.
"Our code of student conduct expressly prohibits hazing and any students who are accused of that would have to go before our student conduct board to be adjudicated," said J.J. Boehm, SVSU spokesperson.
Boehm says he cannot comment on the investigation, but he says the school has several programs in place to educate student athletes on conduct.
"One of those has been on hazing to educate them and to help them to make good decisions where that is concerned," Boehm said.
The investigation is now in the hands of Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas.
"We are looking into a lot of pending matters and that's not something I'm going to comment on," Thomas said.
The five SVSU players suspended are described as veterans of the football program.
ABC12 Main Station