A former member of the Clemson women’s soccer team is suing head coach Eddie Radwanski, other staff members, administrators and former teammates for an alleged hazing incident that included “humiliating and demeaning acts” and caused significant physical injuries.
The lawsuit says the injuries included a concussion, facial lacerations and bruising, permanent vision damage, and traumatic brain injury resulting in loss of cognitive function.
The suit was filed by Robert Sumner of Moore & Van Allen PLLC of Charleston on Aug. 15 in the Pickens County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Haley Ellen Hunt, who was a freshman member of the Clemson women’s soccer team in 2011.
Hunt, a bioengineering major from Aiken, alleges that on Aug. 18, 2011, she and other freshman players were abducted from their apartments by teammates, blindfolded, pushed into the rear compartments of vehicles and driven to Riggs Field on the Clemson campus, where they were forced to participate in a hazing ritual known to and approved by Clemson’s coaching staff.
Hunt alleges that as part of the hazing, she was forced to sprint blindfolded and subsequently crashed into a brick wall, suffering serious injuries.
She alleges that a Clemson assistant coach was called to the scene and that players were warned not to tell anyone about the incident.
The suit characterizes the incident as a “premeditated hazing ritual” that has been a part of Clemson women’s soccer team tradition dating back to the program’s beginnings in the early 1990s, and alleges that coaches encouraged and condoned the hazing ritual.
Defendants named in the suit include Radwanski, assistant coaches Jeff Robbins and Siri Mullinix – a former member of the United States Women’s National Team – former athletic director Terry Don Phillips, current assistant athletic director Kyle Young, and Marvin Carmichael, Clemson University’s assistant to the president and chief of staff. All are being sued individually, as well as in their “official capacity as employees of Clemson,” according to the suit.
Also named as defendants are 14 upperclassman members of the 2011 Clemson women’s soccer team who allegedly participated in the hazing.
University officials issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, and have declined to make further comment:
“Clemson University strongly disagrees with the characterization of events in this lawsuit, and looks forward to vigorously defending this case on its facts, rather than these allegations. The university will not comment further on this pending litigation.”
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According to the suit, Hunt filed a complaint with the Clemson athletic administration in August 2011 that eventually made its way to the university’s Office of Community and Ethical Standards, which conducted its own investigation. The suit says the ethics office found the women’s soccer program to be in violation of several university regulations, including “harm to person, hazing and student organizational conduct,” and placed the team on disciplinary probation through Dec. 12, 2012.
The 36-page document demands a jury trial and seeks punitive damages for physical and psychological injuries, medical expenses, attorney’s fees and court costs.
Hunt redshirted in 2011 and eventually played in 17 matches for the Tigers before giving up the sport.
The news of the lawsuit comes in a week in which the Clemson women’s soccer program earned its first national ranking in seven years.
This article was republished with permission from the author, Kerry Capps. The original article was published in the Anderson Independent Mail.