Sports and Band Hazing Deaths


Athletic & Band Hazing Deaths

NEWS from the Guardian on sports hazing


University of Texas

Delta Kappa Epsilon Hazing

Pledge Nolte McElroy, an athlete, died from the electric shock when he had to crawl through mattresses charged with electric current. The school response was to be expected. “It simply was a terrible accident that could not have been foreseen,”  Texas Dean V. L. Moore told a reporter.

Nolte McElroy (name misspelled in newspaper photo)


Highmore High School

Athletic hazing, Lettermen’s Club:

Hazing by electrocution

Gerald De Gooyer, 20, a multi-sport athlete was killed by an initiation requiring him to


Allegheny High School

Football Hazing, Suicide

Richard Metz, 17, was being attacked by two older football players in a hazing. They tried cutting off his ducktail style hair. Metz shot one of the young men, injuring him with a .22 pistol. Afraid of being sent to a correctional institution, Metz turned the weapon on himself and died in September of 1962.

83) 1963

Charleston High School (West Virginia)

Band Hazing Alleged beating death

Long before the more famous deadly hazing of Robert Champion in a Florida A & M band hazing, high school band members accused of administering a fatal “pink belly” beating to 15-year-old newcomer Michael Murphy in a hazing were let go by a court and acquitted, according to the Spokane Daily Chronicle (October 18, 1963).

84) 1963

University of Florida and Abilene Christian College (Now Abilene Christian University, Texas)

Fraternal Organization of Lifeguards Water Initiation Ritual; Lifeguard Hazing

George E. Beers, 28, died following a lifeguard hazing initiation in the Atlantic Ocean. At first charges were dropped on a technicality against University of Florida undergraduates John Masters and John Tanner, as well as Roger Orrell, an Abilene Christian [University] student.  In January of 1964, a charge of culpable negligence was filed by the state attorney. He was held underwater in a strenuous exercise that had been held annually at least since 1958.


Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Athletic hazing: Drowning

Lamonte R. Jenkins died of drowning after being tossed into water near West Chester, according to New York Times and the Hazleton Standard-Speaker . Authorities found “no malicious intent,” according to the Standard-Speaker. He was at a football camp.


Muskingum College (New Concord, Ohio): Now Muskingum University

Athletic hazing

Overexertion during exercise session Scott Graeler, a sophomore varsity tackle, died during an initiation at the team’s Stag Club House. A club president later paid a $100 fine, according to Wikipedia. According to the Times Recorder of Zanesville, Ohio, the person fined by the court was John (Jack) Falcon, a junior.The coroner’s verdict was heart failure due to overexertion. “The death was not intentional,” said Jodge J. Lincoln Knapp, defending the typical light sentence for hazing. “There but for the grace of God could have gone many others.” Graeler was dead on arrival on Feb. 8, 1969. He was taken ill at the campus’s Stag Club. 


University of Nevada (Reno)

Sundowners (a subrosa athletic club)

Hell Night death from alcohol

University of Nevada Wolfpack player John Davies was pummeled mercilessly and died in the back of a pickup truck after ingesting a lethal amount of grain alcohol. Police got no conviction and members celebrated in the same bar John had been hazed when John’s parents lost a civil suit brought against the suspended membership.

1984 American International College

Zeta Chi local chapter of athletic team fraternity:

Alcohol-related hazing death


Pledge Jay Lenaghan, 19, died following a drinking marathon with a blood-alcohol level of 0.48. Alcohol overdose (mixed with non-otc drugs) was direct cause of death.


Western Illinois University

Lacrosse Club

Athletic hazing

Nick Haben, a non-drinker ordinarily, died from an alcohol overdose while participating in alcohol games for a school athletic club. Several members were convicted by the courts of serving alcohol to a minor. Alcohol was direct cause of death. Nick’s death is covered in “High School Hazing” (Scholastic) by Hank Nuwer.


University of Texas

Texas Cowboys

Alcohol-related Death by Drowning

Gabriel Higgins drowned in the Colorado River after participating in silly drinking games at the initiation party on the ranch of an alumnus who did not partake in the games. Alcohol and possibly exhaustion from exercise during drinking games contributed to the fatal accident.


University of Minnesota, Duluth

Men’s and women’s rugby initiation

Death ruled an accident

Although Ken Christiansen had been drinking at an initiation party and veteran members scrawled pictures on their faces, he died of an accident when he fell dead drunk into a creek and died, according to a police investigation. Alcohol consumed prior to going out in freezing temperatures and failure of other athletes to monitor were all factors in the death.


Robert Champion

Florida A & M

Band Hazing involving physical beating

Band member Robert Champion died on a bus in an incident police have called hazing-related but Robert’s mother told Hank Nuwer his death was a murder.  One participant was sentenced to six years in prison. All others received probation. Physical violence caused the death. Alcohol not a factor.


University of Texas.

Texas Cowboys

Distracted Driving

Parents allege sleep deprivation was a factor in accidental death Sleep deprivation (a form of hazing) was a factor in the death of a Texas Cowboys “Newman”? UT officials acknowledged serious hazing and animal abuse had occurred and expelled some members, but denied that sleep deprivation led to the death of a “New Man” trying to join  the Texas Cowboys Spirit Group at the University of Texas.  The pickup truck accident that killed new man Nicky Cumberland occurred right after the spirit group’s hazing and alcohol-fueled “retreat.”


Lyon College

Baseball Team

Alleged alcohol-related initiation

James Gilfedder,  a Lyon College baseball player, died during alleged hazing.  Gilfedder’s parents told Arkansas media that their son’s body was battered, and he consumed a fifth of alcohol after a team “hazing party.”  Police are waiting for autopsy results before commenting.  Media said the house where he parties was owned by an assistant coach.


Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill blamed the death on drinking alone.

Link to parents


BRIEF NOTES: Athletic Hazing in recent news stories

Update: Lacrossing the line–The arrogance of St. Ignatius High School’s press release. 

Cleveland’s St. Ignatius lacrosse team out of tournament because of hazing with alcohol. The school’s press release is a joke.

2021 Rugby player Sam Patton dead after drinking initiation.

2021: James Gilfedder,  a Lyon College baseball player, died during alleged hazing.  Gilfedder’s parents told Arkansas media that their son’s body was battered, and he consumed a fifth of alcohol after a team “hazing party.”

Four cheerleader coaches were fired and a longtime adviser resigned at the University of Kentucky in 2020 after allegations of nudity and other hazing practices that allegedly violated Title IX.


Three college baseball players in South Carolina have been charged with hazing, authorities said.

Florence County Sheriff’s Office officials said Francis Marion University requested an investigation into possible hazing.

(Video above: Tuesday morning headlines)

The investigation resulted in the arrest of 21-year-old Jon Mitchell Carter, of Hamer; 21-year-old David Tyler Mangum, of Durham, North Carolina; and 21-year-old Noah Hunter Jones, of Greenville, North Carolina, who were all arrested March 6 and charged with hazing.

Francis Marion Baseball Players Arrested

Francis Marion Baseball Players Arrested

According to arrest warrants obtained by WMBF, the events happened at the address coinciding with the Patriot Place Apartments, a complex across the street from the college.

The three suspects are accused of “intentionally (striking) an underclassmen member of the baseball program for the purpose of initiation.”

One underclassman player suffered a broken jaw, according to arrest warrants.

The three suspects were released from the Florence County Detention Center on March 6 on $1,000 personal recognizance bonds.

Online court records show the players’ court dates are set for April 29.

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