Last night, Coastal Carolina’s athletic department announced that the school’s cheerleading team had been indefinitely suspended pending a conduct investigation. Myrtle Beach news station WMBF noticed that the cheerleading team had been scrubbed from the CCU athletics website, with their section now redirecting to the spirit team’s page.
Suspending an entire team of cheerleaders is a rather serious move, especially considering that the CCU squad was scheduled to take part in a national competition in Florida in April. They raised money for their travel expenses, but will be unable to go. The school was also scheduled to host a national cheer competition next week, but that has since been canceled.
An unnamed cheerleader spoke to WMFB and told them that CCU began their investigation into the team after someone sent an anonymous letter to the president of the university alleging that the team was involved in a prostitution ring, in addition to a number of other shady schemes:
A cheerleader who spoke on the condition of anonymity said an investigator with the CCU Department of Public Safety came to their practice Wednesday night. The cheerleader said the investigator explained to the team an anonymous letter was mailed to school president David DeCenzo on March 7 alleging that team members were involved in “a long list of things,” including prostitution, purchasing alcohol for underage team members, and paying others to complete their homework assignments.
Horry County police officers met with team members, went through cell phones for evidence, and eventually released everyone, apparently telling the team they “did nothing wrong.” Police confirmed to WMBF that they were not investigating the allegations, which makes all discipline up to the university.
Deadspin filed a request for any documents pertaining to the investigation, but CCU denied it because they are in the midst of an active investigation. The university commented, but wouldn’t say anything about the cause of the investigation or suspensions:
At this time, I can only confirm the Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team has been suspended indefinitely pending a conduct investigation.
Cheerleaders and parents have expressed their disgust with the school and this afternoon the cheerleading team released a statement decrying the accusations as false and noting that they’ve led to on-campus harassment:
At this point in time, we no longer wish to be contacted about the current situation. The false accusations have led to harassment on campus as well as through social media, and are beginning to negatively impact our daily lives as well as our studies. As a team we ask the community to support us through these tough times as we hope the situation will be cleared up shortly.
The Coastal Carolina Cheerleading Team
Right now, all we know is that one person made anonymous allegations about the team, that police investigated and found no reason to push the case any further, and yet the cheerleading team remains suspended at a key moment in their season and the school won’t say why. There is a missing part of this story. Know anything? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.