Byron (Ill.) High School officials have concluded that an incident that led to the suspension of 10 football players for three games this season involved voluntary participation and thus fell short of hazing.
On Oct. 26, the players reportedly ran naked across a football field, each with an Oreo cookie between his buttocks. According to the Rockford Register Star, school officials learned of the incident Nov. 8, and alerted the parents of those players involved the following day. The school's investigation, which involved interviews with some 30 players and coaches and review of dark security camera video, concluded last week. "We take any allegations like this very seriously, and we have a system in place to address it," Byron Superintendent Buster Barton said. "But this had nothing to do with hazing."
Though hazing ultimately was ruled out, the school cited indecent exposure in keeping the involved players out of games played Nov. 10, 17 and 23 — the latter representing the Illinois Class 3A state championship game. The Tigers' loss in that game was their lone defeat of the season.
The team's head coach was unavailable for comment, but volunteer assistant Sean Considine, a member of Byron's lone state championship team and an NFL alum, offered, "There was no thought given to the football season, wins or losses, who are the stars and who’s not, in this entire thing. It was dealt with using an iron fist, and I will stand by all of it.”