Two cheerleaders from the University of Kansas have come forward with rather disturbing allegations of hazing against their teammates and the alumni.
In an incident that allegedly took place in July 2017 at a children’s summer camp event, at least six new members of the university cheerleading squad were blindfolded, stripped naked and told they were ugly and unskilled, according to The Collegiate which cited multiple sources.
According to the report, the first-year members received a text message asking them to meet near the David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium with their running shoes. When the young women arrived at the scene, they were met with the alumni, who then allegedly forced them to run and up and down the hill – twice.
They were then blindfolded and things got even more disturbing.
“We got to the bottom and they told us to lay on the ground,” a victim explained. “They blindfolded us and took us one by one into different cars.”
The girls were driven to a vacant property where at least one cheerleader was allegedly put inside a washing machine and other into boxes.
“I remember getting put into a big laundry basket. I was shaken around and stuff,” recalled one of the girls, while another said, “They put me in a cardboard box and were banging on the sides.”
The new members were later taken to another room where they were once again blindfolded and stripped naked after being asked a series of questions.
“I had taken my blindfold off along with another girl sitting next to me,” one of the girls told the publication. “Two alumni guys walked in and saw us naked.”
However, shortly after that, the first-year teammates were separated.
“After that, they took two girls downstairs, they had been initiated,” a victim added. “And then they took me and two other girls, put us in a room together and told us we are ugly, we don’t deserve to be on the team and our skills weren’t good enough. They sat us down with all the alumni and all returning cheerleaders.”
Apparently, this abusive hazing ritual isn’t something new, as both source said they had heard about the so-called initiation ceremonies.
What’s even more disturbing is that new members who complained about the horrific practice did not make it to the team the next year for one reason or another.
Although the university started investigating the incident shortly after it was reported and the entire cheerleading team was put on probation for a year starting in September, the victims claim the concerned authorities – namely head coach Lyndsay Marriott, spirit squad coordinator Cathy Jarzemkoski and Kansas Athletics – didn’t handle the matter appropriately.
In meetings we had with Lyndsay, she always skipped over anything about the hazing and turned it around to say that we do things that are bad too and that the older girls were not getting punished for it so we just needed to move on,” one of the young cheerleaders explained. “They never call it the hazing either, they always say ‘the event’ or ‘what happened in the summer’ because they know it was wrong but didn’t want the older girls to be in trouble.”
The entire incident was so traumatic, one of the victims said she won’t be returning to the University of Kansas at all.
“The reason why I’m leaving KU is solely because the university and the athletic department decided to treat me and my other teammates like we didn’t matter and were instead just pretty faces for the media,” she said.
Unfortunately, such hazing rituals have been making headlines for quite sometime now.
In fact, earlier this year, nine Florida State fraternity members faced hazing charges after a 20-year-old pledge died during a party meant to introduce new members to their “big brother.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Wolfgang Rattay