Hazing allegations at one of the top high school football programs in the county have a coach, school and the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in Southern California on defense, as a former player reportedly recovers from injuries sustained at the hands of his teammates. According to reporting by the Orange County Register, Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California) and the Roman Catholic Diocese the school is a part of are facing a lawsuit from the parents of a former player who was injured -- and later withdrew from the school -- in a hazing ritual called "Bodies."
In the ritual, players form a circle and a player is punched by his teammates repeatedly between the shoulders and torso until he quits. While the Orange County District Attorney's office has declined to seek charges against the players or school, calling the Feb. 4 incident mutual combat, the lawsuit filed on Nov. 23 by the former Mater Dei player's family cites several allegations, including negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of the school and the diocese.
Video was taken of the of the incident, and was reportedly shown to coaches three weeks after it occurred.
Also, according to the OCR's reporting, an Orange County court filing in the case states that following the hazing incident, Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson confirmed his knowledge that the ritual regularly took place. Rollinson told the injured ex-player's father "If I had a hundred dollars for every time these kids played Bodies or Slappies, I'd be a millionaire."
A day after the incident, the player was taken to an urgent care facility where he was diagnosed with a broken nose and a concussion with facial swelling and having slurred speech. He had surgery for his broken nose on Feb. 10 and later withdrew from the school on Feb. 19.
While court filings do say that Rollinson did confirm knowledge of "Bodies" to the former player's father, a police report where Rollinson was interviewed quotes him as saying "[W]e have no hazing on our program. Never have, never will. I've been head for 32 years. Honestly, I've never even heard the word hazing used since 1989."
According to the Los Angeles Times, there are more videos of this event and several other hazing activities inside the Mater Dei football program. The powerhouse football program has was eight CIF Southern Section state championships and two CIF state titles, and boast a long lists of star college football players who've graduated from the school including current Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Heisman Trophy winners John Huarte and Matt Leinart.