Bentley High School football season canceled amid hazing allegations, eligibility issues
BURTON, Mich. (WJRT) - Keeping athletes safe during the pandemic remains on the minds of every team as athletes mask-up before kickoff.
But it’s another issue forcing Bentley High School to cancel the rest of the season with just two games to go.
With only three football games under their belt after months of waiting for the green light to play, the season for the Bulldogs' varsity football team at Bentley High School in Burton is canceled because of hazing allegations and eligibility issues.
In a letter addressed to Bentley football families, Bentley Community Schools Superintendent Kristy Spann says, “Hazing, bullying, and other aggressive behavior are not conducive to an educational environment. Further, such alleged actions harm our students emotionally and at times physically. Foremost, we must be committed to our youth’s wellbeing.”
A Bentley High School football alum, who wants to remain anonymous, said he thinks it’s a hasty decision to cancel the season.
“I would’ve been ballistic. They would’ve see me in the athletic director’s office and the coach’s office and superintendent’s office every day, but I also understand where the school coming from," the alumnus said. "They had to take precaution but I feel like they should ask more questions before making our school look bad by canceling the season.”
Principal Justin Dickerson, who is handling the investigation, declined to comment because it remains ongoing. The allegations are also being investigated by the Burton Police Department. Burton Police Chief Brian Ross said they are still investigating and will be interviewing every player to see if anything criminal transpired.
“Canceling the football season is not intended to be punitive. Rather it is intended to keep our youth safe,” said Spann.
The letter stated that more than four or five students are involved and they will take this time to become a better and stronger team. However, the Bentley alum doesn’t believe every player should be punished.
“I feel that I don’t know what good is coming from canceling the season," he said. "I’ve never understood that because not every single player’s at fault. It’s not fair to the players who weren’t involved.”
“Our coaches and our youth are good people. We will not let these allegations define our athletes or staff. We will rise up and become a better and stronger football team—one in which the entire community will be able to take pride,” said Spann.
More details on what happened will be released next week.
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