The Scary Truth Behind High School Athletics and Hazing

hazing in high school athletics
As reports of bullying have increased to epidemic proportions, we are also seeing hazing in high schools – just another form of bullying. High school students are struggling with acceptance and just want to feel like they fit in. Oftentimes, this overwhelming feeling leads to peer pressure approval. In fact, this feeling even spreads to college students.

Hazing particularly affects high school athletes and is continuing to grow more brutal throughout the country. The most popular form of hazing involves alcohol. Older athletes may force younger players to participate in silly drinking games and other unsafe activities. In fact, a new study indicates that 47 percent of college students reported having been hazed while still in high school.

There have been many reports of hazing in the news as well; leading us to believe that hazing is a bigger problem than we may think. At the beginning of the year, a wrestling team at a high school in Michigan was under investigation by law enforcement after parents reported that some members of the team had been urinated on. Yet the majority of hazing takes place within football teams. A high school football team was faced with criminal charges for hazing practices.

However, when the players who were victimized were asked about the incident, they said it was more “joking around in the locker room” rather than a victim of a crime. The behavior included being grabbed, held, groped and punched – yet it was all in good fun.

hazing within high school football teamsThis behavior is a clear demonstration of hazing. Any activity that produces mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment and/or sexually violating members of a group, is an example of hazing. The interesting side of this is that only 15 percent of the students who answered a recent survey about hazing, thought they were actually being hazed in high school, yet more than half of them report incidents of abuse or dangerous behavior as part of their initiation.

Let’s take a look…

  • A total 29 percent of high school students self-report being involved in some form of hazing, witnessed hazing or left a group because of it.

  • 67 percent of high school students are involved in athletics.

  • Of those, 35 percent report that they have been subject to some form of hazing.
  • With these survey results, we can estimate that 800,000 high school athletes are being subjected to hazing each year.


While hazing is different than conventional hazing, it is basically a more concerning form of harassment. The goal of the hazer is to humiliate and degrade the person in order to feel superior. Whereas this is similar to bullying, hazing usually involves a group dynamic.
If 800,000 high school athletes are being victimized by hazing, then this is a bigger problem than we thought.

As a parent, it is your job to make sure that your child is not agreeing to or condoning this behavior. If something is not done soon, these malicious acts of hazing can quickly turn dangerous and fatal.

If your child has been the victim of hazing, contact personal injury attorney Chris Davis today to learn about your legal options. Call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000 to schedule a free consultation.