Another school football season ends over hazing

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Central Bucks High School West football hazing and Sayreville War Memorial High School
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Another school football season ends over hazing
Pa. high school cancels football season amid hazing allegations http://t.co/BLTHIOhKq9 #Sayreville http://t.co/IcJFgE7WAl
BREAKING: Central Bucks West football season canceled amid hazing allegations. More to come. http://t.co/G8pdSVEr5L http://t.co/bdZKCZNtOS
Central Bucks High School West football team in Doylestown
Central Bucks High School West football team in Doylestown
PARLIN, NJ - OCTOBER 21: Current players of the Sayreville football team attend a Board of Education meeting to support their team's coaches on October 21, 2014 in Parlin, New Jersey. The Sayreville War Memorial High School coaching staff were suspended by the school superintendent in the wake of a hazing scandal that involved sexual assault by the school's football team. State law requires the suspensions to be upheld by a majority vote of school board members, who voted 9 - 0 to approve the suspension of the five coaches. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
PARLIN, NJ - OCTOBER 21: A Sayreville Board of Education bus is parked outside the Sayreville War Memorial High School on October 21, 2014 in Parlin, New Jersey. The Sayreville War Memorial High School coaching staff were suspended by the school superintendent in the wake of a hazing scandal that involved sexual assault by the school's football team. State law requires the suspensions to be upheld by a majority vote of school board members, who voted 9 - 0 to approve the suspension of the five coaches. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
PARLIN, NJ - OCTOBER 13: A Sayreville War Memorial High School sign stands in front of the school on October 13, 2014 in Parlin, New Jersey. The town has been rocked by allegations of hazing and sexual assault on the football team that has lead to the cancellation of the season. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
People hold candles as they gather for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town has been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
The entrance to Sayreville War Memorial High School is shown Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. Officials at a school, which has won three sectional titles over the past four years, canceled the football season amid allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying among players. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Banners for state championships for the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team are lined up on a sign along Main Street in Sayreville, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Seven students were charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults amid an investigation into hazing by the high school football team, which already led to the cancellation of the rest of the season, authorities said. Six of the seven students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Raindrops fall on a puddle on a lot where a sign with the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team schedule is listed along Main Street in Sayreville, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Seven students were charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults amid an investigation into hazing by the high school football team, which already led to the cancellation of the rest of the season, authorities said. Six of the seven students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - School officials on Thursday canceled the remaining two football games at a suburban Philadelphia high school after concluding rookie players had been subjected to "humiliating and inappropriate" initiation rites.

The pre-season hazing at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown included a requirement that rookies grab another player's genitals while fully clothed, an initiation that was carried out in front of most team members, Superintendent David Weitzel said.

"Our inquiry determined that students new to the team were expected to participate in several initiations that were both humiliating and inappropriate," Weitzel wrote in a letter to the school district community.

"I want to be clear that these activities did not result in physical harm, but were not harmless," he said.

All varsity and junior varsity coaches were also suspended pending further investigation, the superintendent said, citing the failure of staff to properly supervise team activities. Police said they would investigate whether any of the activity was criminal.

Central Bucks Regional Police Department Chief James Donnelly said the school's principal had told him that one of the initiation rites involved placing towels over players' heads and leading them into the shower. He said players referred to the practice as "waterboarding," but that he didn't view it as fitting the definition. Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over a cloth placed on a victim's face to simulate drowning.

The school's storied football program includes a run of four state titles in the 1990s, when it regularly appeared in USA Today's national Top 10 rankings.

Its alumni include Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine Jr. and two of his assistants. Pettine's father built the school's football dynasty with a 327-42-4 record from 1967-1999. The school's most famous dropout is Alecia Moore, better known as the singer Pink.

The football team has struggled more recently, and is 2-6 this year. It was scheduled to play rival Central Bucks East in a homecoming matchup Friday night.

Earlier this month, the football season at Sayreville War Memorial High School in neighboring New Jersey was canceled over a hazing investigation that resulted in the suspension of five coaches and criminal charges against seven players.

In Pennsylvania, the school superintendent said hazing allegations were first reported to the district on Oct. 14.

The district code of student conduct has banned hazing and similar activities for the past decade, and Weitzel apologized to those players who were "subjected to the demeaning actions of fellow players who should have served as role models."

Weitzel said the majority of players were in violation "through their offensive and disrespectful actions in what were supposed to be pre-season team-building activities." Players who did not participate, but witnessed the activities and failed to report them, also violated the student code, he said.

"Appropriate team-building activities cannot be permitted to spiral out of control and become hazing," Weitzel said.

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