Cromwell football coach suspended without pay - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cromwell football coach suspended without pay

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The Cromwell High School football team is at the center of a hazing investigation. (WFSB) The Cromwell High School football team is at the center of a hazing investigation. (WFSB)

The Cromwell High School football coach was placed on a one week unpaid suspension after alleged hazing scandal involving team players.

Superintendent Paula M. Talty said Coach Chris Eckert was negligent in locker room supervision.

"Supervision is to be provided to students at all times while they are on campus, sporting events or practices," Talty said.

These actions by the school come after a hazing incident involving the high school football team.

On Aug. 25, the team was in the locker room prior football practice when police said a juvenile, whose name was not released due to his age, walked around with a belt.

Police said an unknown team member turned off the lights and the juvenile struck four students with the belt. The teammates suffered “minor injuries,” police said.

The students were told not to talk about the incident and “this never happened.”

Immediately after the suspension announcement, a group of players stood up for their coach.

"It's unfortunate that he'll be missing the first game, he will be missed," said team captain Mayze James.

"We idolize him as a coach, we follow him and love him very much," said another team captain Ethan Roy.

After a “thorough investigation” by the school resource officer, one juvenile was issued a juvenile summons for breach of peace and hazing.

Police said it appears other team members were involved in the incident, but “due to conflicting statements,” no others will be charged by police.

Last week, school sources said Eckert had been placed on paid administrative leave while officials probe the hazing allegations.

Talty said they reserve the right to reassess his punishment based on the Connecticut Department of Children and Families or police investigation, which are separate from the school’s investigation.

In the meantime, the team, which also consists of Portland High School students, is preparing for its first game of the season. Their first game is on Sept. 12 against Coginchaug Regional High School.

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