WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The entire cheerleading coaching staff for the University of Kentucky has been fired for promoting a culture of hazing, public nudity, and excessive alcohol use.
- An investigation found that off-campus activities involved routines where team members were partially nude and in view of team coaches.
- Parties also involved excessive alcohol use to the point where several team members required medical treatment.
The entire coaching staff for the University of Kentucky’s cheerleading team has been fired for promoting a culture of hazing, public nudity, and excessive alcohol use.
The university fired head coach Jomo Thompson and assistants Spencer Clan, Ben Head, and Kelsey LaCroix.
Adviser T. Lynn Williamson, who has worked for four decades with the team, also resigned after the launch of an investigation.
The university’s statement on Monday also cited Williamson’s “lax oversight and poor judgment.”
Williamson has since been banned from contacting any team member.
The University of Kentucky (UK) is known to have the country’s most prominent college cheerleading program, having won 24 of the last 35 national championships.
UK executive vice president Eric N. Monday declared, “The advisor and the coaches failed to stop a culture of hazing, alcohol use and public nudity at off-campus activities where they were present.”
“Our students deserve more responsible leadership, and the University of Kentucky demands it,” the statement continued.
The investigation started after a family member called in February to report the atmosphere at a team retreat at Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.
The party had involved “basket tosses” in which cheerleaders — who were topless or bottomless — tossed each other into the water from a dock. Other team members gave the directions while team coaches were present, according to the investigation.
Alcohol was also brought by former team members, along with boats. Boat parties were held while team members were partially nude.
There was excessive alcohol consumption to the point where several team members required medical treatment. The coaches reportedly did nothing to intervene.
Other team members had also directed the performance of lewd chants while wearing outfits without underwear during cheerleading camp in Tennessee.
Some of the coaches had also hired cheerleaders to work at gymnastics businesses they ran.
The athletic department is now in charge of overseeing the cheerleading program while they conduct a national search for a new coach.