University of Kentucky cheerleading staff fired after hazing investigation

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Tuesday, May 19, 2020
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University of Kentucky cheerleading staff fired after hazing investigation

LOUISVILLE -- All of the cheerleading coaches at the University of Kentucky have been fired after an internal investigation determined they failed to oversee off-campus events that included hazing, alcohol use and public nudity by the championship squad.

"This is not who we are at the University of Kentucky," university president Eli Capilouto said Monday. "This is not what we do."

Head coach Jomo Thompson and assistants Ben Head, Spencer Clan and Kelsey LaCroix were fired after the three-month investigation found the staff "failed to take sufficient steps to address the conduct" and had "lax oversight and poor judgment."

The cheer squad has won 24 national championship in 35 years, ranking among the best in the nation.

The investigation, which centered on alleged behavior at a cheer camp and annual retreat, was prompted by the parents of one of the cheerleaders on the team.

"Coaches allowed cheerleading alumni to bring boats and alcohol to the retreat, where some cheerleaders were naked and or drinking while riding on boats," Provost David W. Blackwell said.

"Some cheerleaders performed gymnastics routines that included hurling their teammates from a dock into the water. While either topless or bottomless," he said.

Capilouto said the coaches "did not act in ways that would protect the health, safety and well being" of the students.

Some students rushed to the defense of their coaches on social media.

"WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. Actions are made by individuals and not influenced by the coaching staff AT ALL," one tweeted.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.