Players removed from Brunswick High football team in wake of hazing allegations

·3 min read

Oct. 1—Some players have been removed from the Brunswick High football team for the rest of the season as "interim actions" in the wake of an alleged hazing incident during a preseason team retreat.

Phil Potenziano, Brunswick's superintendent of schools, would not specify how many players have been removed, citing confidentiality concerns and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

"Playing football for Brunswick High School is a privilege, not a right," Potenziano said in an email to the Press Herald on Friday.

"Players are expected to always act appropriately and with character and integrity, not only on the football field but also in school and in the community. The Brunswick School Department has taken interim actions as a result of violations of the codes of conduct and other school district policies. This has resulted in some students being removed from the BHS football team."

Earlier this season the Brunswick football roster listed 38 players. On Thursday, 24 players were dressed in football gear and practicing for a game scheduled for Friday night at Skowhegan High.

Later on Friday, the superintendent said he had received the investigative report conducted by the school department's legal counsel, led by attorney Allen Kropp of the Portland firm Drummond Woodsum.

"I will not be making any further comments this evening other than to say I am presently reviewing the report and want to give it the attention it requires," Potenziano said.

No decision has been made on whether head coach Dan Cooper or his top assistant, Greg Nadeau, will be allowed to return to coaching duties, Potenziano said. They were placed on non-disciplinary administrative leave by the superintendent last week. Thursday practice was run by assistant coach Nate Brunette.

A week ago, Potenziano canceled the varsity football game on Sept. 24 and put the entire program on a four-day pause as the school department and Brunswick police conducted separate investigations of the alleged hazing incident. On Tuesday, the team was allowed to return to football activities.

Scott Stewart, Brunswick's police chief, said Tuesday that the Brunswick School Department supplied police with materials related to its investigation, including video of the alleged hazing incident. A detective was assigned to the police investigation last week.

Potenziano has said he became aware of the hazing allegations on or around Sept. 8 and that the incident took place during a team retreat in August at Thomas Point Beach, a music venue and campground in Brunswick.

On Sept. 16, in a letter addressed to Brunswick High football parents, Potenziano announced that the school department had launched an investigation to "uncover any violations of school rules and determine appropriate action."

"After considering the interim suspensions, these consequences apply to a small group of athletes in this situation," Potenziano wrote. "As a result, after consulting with BHS Administration, we determined we could safely field a full team. Supporting student-athletes and the general student body through this situation has been our priority, as evidenced by our supportive measure, and continuing to allow the team to play is a supportive measure."

This story will be updated.

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