Wall Township High School Football Playoff Game Canceled Amid Hazing Investigation
The Wall Township School District has made the decision to cancel the Wall football team's NJSIAA playoff game that was scheduled for Friday night because of the ongoing investigation into alleged hazing and sexual assault involving members of the football team, Superintendent Tracy Handerhan said in a letter to parents on Wednesday night.
Second-seeded Wall (6-3) was to host third-seeded Delsea (10-0) in an NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 semifinal game at 7 p.m. on Friday night. That game will not be played and Delsea will move on to the championship game via forfeit. Wall has a Thanksgiving Day game vs. Manasquan scheduled and the status of that game remains unclear.
"Upon hearing of an anonymous rumor concerning allegations of hazing among Wall High School Football players, the school immediately contacted law enforcement and appropriate agencies," the letter read. "Due to the fact this investigation is being handled by law enforcement, District personnel are unable to comment on the investigation at this time. Because of this pending investigation and after consultation with board counsel, administration, and the Office of the Monmouth County Interim Executive County Superintendent, the football game scheduled for this Friday, November 12 is canceled."
"District and high school decision-makers take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. There is no greater priority. We will keep the community apprised of this pending investigation to the extent that we are able. If anyone has information, please contact the Monmouth County County Prosecutor's Office directly at 732-431-7160."
The incident in question alleges that some upperclassmen on the football team bullied and hazed underclassmen inside the school's locker room. News 12 reported that there is a video that shows a student sexually assaulting another player.
New details emerged on Wednesday morning that elaborated on the video clip of the hazing act. Parents told NJ.com the hazing incident involved juniors attacking sophomores, and that a group of players attempted to hold down a younger player and assault him. The video shows one of the players holding the stick end of a mop or broom. Voices can be heard in the background urging the attackers to stop.
News 12 New Jersey reported that the MCPO is in possession of at least one video.
"I will say I trust I really trust the process, I trust that our detectives and assistant prosecutors that work in our office on every matter that they handle will do everything to the fullest extent possible," acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linksey told News 12.
When contacted for comment, the Wall Township School District released a statement saying "Upon becoming aware of the allegation, we immediately contacted the appropriate authorities. There is a pending investigation and the school district is cooperating fully. We cannot comment further on a pending investigation of a student matter."
Additional inquiries to the Wall Township Police Department were referred to the MCPO, which said that "juvenile records are by their nature confidential, therefore we cannot confirm or deny any details about this matter."
The Crimson Knights defeated Hopewell Valley, 42-7, last Friday in the quarterfinal round. Wall is 6-3 on the season and were ranked No. 5 in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10. Wall has been one of New Jersey's best teams over the last three seasons. The Knights finished No. 1 in the Shore Conference in 2019 and 2020 and were also ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ.com at the conclusion of last season.