Hazing News

Athletic hazing lawsuit against coach costs school roughly $40,000, according to one estimate

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Brown sued Shepas, assistant coach Paul Salvino, Hennon, Massillon City Schools and 30 unnamed players.

The case was filed in Stark County Common Pleas Court, then moved to the U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

Brown transferred to Massillon in 2003 and attended a team football camp at West Virginia University. According to the lawsuit, Brown was teased by players and coaches because of his shaggy hair.

Brown accused Shepas of pantomiming shaving his head in front of teammates. After camp curfew, Brown said 10 teammates tried to shave his head with a razor, but he fought them off by swinging a helmet.

However, the suit said, 30 players came to Brown’s room the next morning, and three players sat on him while his head was shaved. Brown said he passed out because of the weight of the players on his chest.

One of the issues in the lawsuit was the depth and scope that Shepas investigated the incident. Also, Brown accused a football booster who was a chaperone on the trip of telling him not to say anything about it because it would hurt the team.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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