|Five Wheaton players were charged, and Noah Spielman is of five who played for Wheaton this past Saturday night.
Photo by Matt McClure, d3photography.com
Five Wheaton football players, including a D3football.com preseason All-America selection, have been charged with assault and other charges related to a hazing incident of a freshman teammate in the spring of 2016, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Noah Spielman, Kyler Kregel, Ben Pettway, James Cooksey and Samuel TeBos were charged with aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint in relation to an incident in March 2016 in which they allegedly forcibly removed a freshman transfer from his dorm room, bound him, beat him and left him half naked on a baseball field off campus.
Kregel was a preseason All-America selection at center for the Thunder. Spielman and Pettway played in Saturday's game vs. Carthage. Spielman's father is former NFL player Chris Spielman.
"We have all seen situations where young men have engaged in foolish and immature behavior," Terry Ekl, an attorney who represents the victim, told the newspaper. "What was done to our client goes far beyond what is acceptable behavior or which can be dismissed as merely harmless hazing. We are hopeful Wheaton College will learn from this incident and subsequent criminal investigation and charges and may not in the future condone this type of conduct."
The roster status of the five players was unclear as of Monday night. However, on Tuesday, the school announced that the five players had been suspended from the team. Multiple sources tell D3sports.com that the players served a suspension in 2016 as well, for the season opener vs. Benedictine.
Wheaton College issued a lengthy statement on Monday. It reads in part as follows:
"When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the College took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the College, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections.
"The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant. We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way. This incident has prompted our Board of Trustees to engage outside experts to lead a campus-wide review of the level of effectiveness of our anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams, and organizations. Wheaton remains committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students."