University of Virginia

Former UVA Wide Receiver Alleges Bullying and Hazing Incidents that "Mimicked Sexual Acts"

Incoming freshman Aidan Howard left the school after he sustained a concussion and orbital bone fracture when he was forced to fight another teammate.

by Mike Vorkunov
Oct 20 2016, 4:30pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A former receiver for the University of Virginia is suing the school's president, athletic director, wide receivers coach, and two current players for Title IX violations, and is seeking damages as a result of injuries he sustained in what he says was basically an organized cock fight, according to a story by the Washington Post, which detailed the lawsuit.

Aidan Howard, who was a newly enrolled freshman receiver this summer at Virginia, says he was bullied and harassed by his teammates for not picking up plays quickly. As a result, Howard alleges he was forced to fight another receiver on the team just a week into training camp. Teammates used athletic tape to make a ring in the locker room, flashed lights and played loud music, and, he says in the lawsuit, barred phones or anything that could record it.

"The fight came to an end," the complaint states. "When Aidan sustained severe eye injuries. Aidan immediately experienced double-vision in his right eye and was in a significant amount of pain. His head hurt and he felt sick to his stomach."

The lawsuit says that more than 100 people saw the fight, including the offensive coordinator's son, who is a grad assistant at Virginia. Howard suffered a concussion and later learned he had a broken orbital bone too. He left the school a week later.

But those allegations, while deeply personal to Howard, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to identifying UVA's misdeeds. Howard says he saw it happen to other freshman as well.

In the complaint, he states that he saw upperclassmen bully and harass other freshmen, "including conduct which imitated and mimicked sexual acts." Other first-year players were forced "to participate in fights and wrestling matches while naked or partially naked, an act referred to at UVA as 'ramming,' " the complaint alleges.


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