The Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team is suspended indefinitely pending an ongoing investigation, according to a statement from a university official.
A cheerleader who spoke to WMBF News 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 March 7 alleging team members are involved in “a long list of things,” including prostitution, purchasing alcohol for underage team members and paying others to complete their homework assignments.
She also said the team was met by police after practice, who called the names of individual team members, and took them to CCU’s police station for questioning. During the questioning, the cheerleader said police searched through their cell phones. She said officers then told them they could leave around 11 p.m., after telling them they did nothing wrong.
Due to the investigation, to which there are currently no incident reports pertaining to the conduct investigation, the team will not be allowed to cheer in the cheerleading showcase scheduled for April 4 nor a previously scheduled national competition in Daytona Beach, Fl.
Competition officials tell WMBF News the team is still registered and paid in full, and they have not heard the team will not be coming. Team members raised money for their own travel expenses to the competition, and are now upset that they are unable to attend, the cheerleader said.
Cheerleaders and parents are taking to social media stating their case and admonishing the university for punishing the group for actions of a few.
One tweeted, “And just like that, everything you’ve ever worked for was just taken in a blink of an eye.”
William Walker, an uncle of one of the cheerleaders, said he first got wind of the incident when his niece called him from the university police station Wednesday night.
He said she sounded very angry on the phone, and proceeded to tell him that the team had been indefinitely suspended.
“Well she was at campus police station last night, 9:30-10:00, calling me just really, really mad,” Walker said. “She was more mad than upset that they had been ripped from practice, and told that they could no longer compete and were not going on to their nationals thing, and were taking them to the police station.”
WMBF News has requested communications pertaining to the cheerleading team, as well as the letter allegedly sent to CCU President DeCenzo, through a Freedom of Information Act request. The school’s FOIA office denied the request, stating the request concerns a pending investigation.
Horry County Police said they are not involved in the investigation at this time, according to WMBF News.
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