CHARLOTTESVILLE — The University of Virginia shed a bit of light Friday on its investigations into hazing allegations against the school’s football team, releasing a “statement of clarification” regarding the claims of former player Aidan Howard.
Howard, who filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 14 charging the university with Title IX violations, alleges in the suit he was taunted, bullied and ostracized this past summer while on campus before the start of his freshman season. The treatment steadily escalated until upperclassmen had Howard and another freshman square off in a gladiator-style fight in the locker room, during which Howard suffered a concussion and a fractured orbital bone, the complaint states.
When reports of Howard’s suit surfaced earlier this week, a university spokesman said the school was aware of the suit and “has been actively investigating these reports.”
Friday’s statement indicated the school reported the incident “to the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s in accordance with Virginia state law” after receiving the report Aug. 16.
The school’s police department, Office of the Dean of Students and Title IX office began their own investigations, according to the statement, which included conducting interviews with Howard and his lawyer as well as “other staff and students.” The investigations are ongoing.
Howard’s lawsuit names university President Teresa Sullivan and Athletic Director Craig Littlepage as defendants, in addition to wide receivers Doni Dowling and David Eldridge and receivers coach Marques Hagans.
“Alleged violations of University policy are investigated to determine appropriate disciplinary and remedial measures, including legal recourse,” the university statement read.
Neither Dowling, one of Virginia football’s leading receivers, nor Eldridge has been suspended in the wake of allegations.
Howard left Virginia a week after the fight. He has since enrolled at Robert Morris in Pittsburgh, where he intended to play football before a doctor discovered the fractured orbital bone last month. The injury ended Howard’s football season before he played in a game.