Kentucky Fires Cheerleading Coaching Staff Over Nudity, Hazing Allegations; Cheerleaders Fire Back

Kentucky Fires Cheerleading Coaches Over Nudity Hazing Allegations

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On Monday, the University of Kentucky announced that it was firing the entire coaching staff of their cheerleading squad following an investigation into allegations including hazing, alcohol and public nudity.

According to a press released published on the University of Kentucky’s news website

A three-month investigation found the coaching staff and administrative advisor failed to provide reasonable oversight during off-campus events, where inappropriate conduct by members of the cheerleading squad included hazing activities, alcohol use and public nudity.

In response, the University of Kentucky today dismissed all four cheerleading coaches — Head Coach Jomo Thompson and Assistant Coaches Ben Head, Spencer Clan and Kelsey LaCroix — from their duties with the program.

The investigation also found lax oversight and poor judgment by T. Lynn Williamson, who served as the cheerleading program’s advisor for four decades. Williamson, whose primary university job was principal deputy general counsel, retired days after learning of the investigation and being directed to have no contact with the cheerleading squad.

“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. 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,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The University of Kentucky has built the nation’s premier collegiate cheerleading program. 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 advisor.”

The three-month investigation involved the interviewing of more than 60 students, coaches and administrators in the cheerleading program and the final report found the following:

• Coaches knew or reasonably should have known of inappropriate conduct by cheerleaders and failed to take sufficient steps to address the conduct;

• During a team retreat at Lake Cumberland, some cheerleaders performed gymnastics routines that including hurling their teammates from a dock into the water while either topless or bottomless. The routines, known as “basket tosses,” were done at the direction of other members of the squad and within the view of at least some of the coaches;

• Coaches allowed cheerleading alumni to bring boats and alcohol to the retreat, where some cheerleaders were partially naked and/or drinking while riding on boats;

• Coaches did not confiscate alcohol brought to the retreat by some squad members or intervene to stop students from consuming alcohol. Several squad members became so intoxicated they required medical treatment; and

• During a cheerleading camp in Tennessee, some cheerleaders were directed by other members of the squad to perform lewd chants and wear outfits that did not include underwear.

On Tuesday, several current and former Kentucky cheerleaders voiced their displeasure on Twitter with the university’s firing of the school’s cheerleading coaches.

And then there were these people…