Philomath High School reinstates football amid hazing allegations

Philomath High School (KPTV)

Football practice will resume at Philomath High School amid a hazing investigation involving students and a volunteer assistant coach.

The Philomath School Board voted Thursday night to begin football practices next week.

Interim coaches will be working with the students.

Superintendent Melissa Goff said no games have been changed at this time from the current schedule, but players will be evaluated for their readiness to participate.

Earlier this week, Goff said the football program had been put on hold due to a hazing investigation involving the football team.

Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said at least 11 freshmen were victims of "offensive physical contact with intimate parts" at a summer camp on the Oregon coast in July.

Six students between the ages of 15 to 17 years old are facing various misdemeanor charges related to assault and harassment. A 22-year-old volunteer assistant coach, Cooper Kikuta, is facing a count of misdemeanor criminal mistreatment.

Members of the football coaching staff have been on paid administrative leave since July, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Mental health services have been offered to all football players, and additional counseling was available for students as they returned to class for the start of the school year Tuesday.

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