Five Liberty High varsity football players have been suspended from the team for the season and could face criminal charges after a hazing incident at a football camp.
According to Liberty Principal Pat Walsh, four seniors and one sophomore were removed from the team for a violation of team rules. The incident took place at Sacramento State, where teams from several schools were participating in the camp.
Brentwood police say that at least eight student-athletes were involved in the summer camp incident, including three victims, who were on the junior varsity team.
Walsh would not give details of the incident, citing that the situation is also under investigation by police.
"We don't tolerate hazing," Walsh said. "We have standards for how athletes treat one another."
Although he could not go into too many specifics, Brentwood police Sgt. Tim Herbert said Wednesday that the parties involved told police that the method of hazing included using Icy Hot "in a manner that was not appropriate."
Any criminal charges against the boys would be filed by the Sacramento County district attorney's office.
Brentwood police are assisting Sacramento State police in handling witness interviews, because of the distance and since all of the teens reportedly involved live in the Brentwood area, university police chief Mark Iwasa said.
Brentwood police were initially alerted about the camp incident on June 29, two days after the teams returned from Sacramento. School officials initially contacted Brentwood police about the incident, Tim Herbert said.
Herbert said the department has finished its part of the investigation and established that there was a battery, which is typical of anything classified as hazing.
"Based on the totality of our investigation, there's no indication that it rose to the level of a sexual assault," Herbert said.
The report will be sent to the police on the Sacramento campus, who will decide whether to send the case to the district attorney.
Nate Smith, Liberty's football coach since 2007, declined to comment on the matter. Walsh said the school has not had any discussions regarding Smith's status as coach in the aftermath of the hazing incident.
"He let me know right away that there was a problem," Walsh said.
The five suspended players are still enrolled as students at Liberty.
Contact Stephanie Hammon at 925-943-8247. Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164.