Powered by Topple

U of Kentucky fires entire cheerleader coaching staff after probe of off-campus hazing, public nudity

Powered by Topple

Get the latest BPR news delivered free to your inbox daily. SIGN UP HERE.


(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The University of Kentucky fired every cheerleading coach on staff Monday after an investigation into allegations of hazing and nudity — no evidence of sexual assault or sexual misconduct was discovered.

Head coach Jomo Thompson and assistant coached Ben Head, Spencer Clan and Kelsey LaCroix were canned after the three-month long probe revealed they failed to oversee off-campus events that included hazing, alcohol use and public nudity, Fox News reported. A longtime primary advisor who has since retired was also found to have exhibited “lax oversight and poor judgment.”

The decision to let the coaches go take on added significance, considering the school has won 24 national cheerleading titles in the last 35 years.

But University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto spoke of a different standard in a statement.

“A commitment we make and renew every day at the University of Kentucky is that the success of our students is at the center of everything that we do,” Capilouto said in the statement. “But for that sentiment to be more than words, we must always act in ways that honor that commitment — especially when we discover rare instances where those who supervise and guide our students don’t meet the standards of integrity we expect of each other. This is one of those times.”

“The University of Kentucky has built the nation’s premier collegiate cheerleading program,” the release added. “But regrettably, the integrity of the program has been compromised by inappropriate behavior by some squad members on off-campus trips and by lax oversight by the program’s coaches and adviser.”

More from Fox News on the inappropriate behavior uncovered:

The investigation discovered that the activities occurred in the summer of 2019 during a retreat at a Kentucky lake and cheerleading camp in Tennessee. Some cheerleaders reportedly performed gymnastics routines that included hurling teammates into the lake “while either topless or bottomless within view of some of the coaches.”

Alcohol use was also prevalent during the retreat and coaches failed to confiscate the items, according to the report. Some members needed medical treatment for intoxication. Some cheerleaders were also urged to perform lewd chants and wear outfits without underwear. No sexual assault or sexual misconduct occurred during the trips, the investigation found.

 

More than 60 members of the cheerleading squad were interviewed during the probe, but not all of the members were in agreement with the finding.

Allie Law, who was identified by the Lexington Herald-Leader as a UK cheerleader, tweeted her dissension.

“This program has been nothing besides outstanding & produces outstanding people because of the guidance our coaches provided for us. I pray people don’t give in to lies that went too far,” Law posted.

Former UK cheerleader Jaxson Noel was also highly complimentary of the coaches.

“The coaches never did anything but try to help us grow, make us better people and prepare us for the real world,” he told the newspaper.

Noel, who left the program after the fall 2019 semester added: “The coaches aren’t dumb and know we are going to party, but they always told us that if we needed them, we could count on them. They are honestly the best leaders and coaches I’ve ever had across every sport I’ve ever played.”

Eli N. Monday, the school’s executive vice president for finance and administration, said in a statement that students deserved “more responsible leadership.

“The adviser and the coaches failed to stop a culture of hazing, alcohol use, and public nudity at off-campus activities where they were present,” Monday said. “Our students deserve more responsible leadership and the University of Kentucky demands it.”

Tom Tillison

Comments

Latest Articles