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November 29, 2011

Alleged Andover hazing gets camp kicked off campus

ANDOVER — The director of the summer basketball camp where two Andover High basketball players were allegedly hazed by older teammates described the incident as "disturbing and reprehensible."

"Your blood just boils. It's very upsetting to say the least," said Steve Gibbs, director of Hoop Mountain basketball camp, based in Beverly.

Hoop Mountain has been tossed from the Stonehill College campus in Easton, Mass., where police are investigating claims two underclassmen were urged by older teammates — two in particular — into playing a game called "wet biscuit" at the camp in early July. The loser of the game was forced to eat an Oreo cookie covered in a bodily fluid.

Gibbs said the 26-year-old business has a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to "hazing or any kind of foul play."

"The alleged behavior has no place at our camps or in society in general," said Greg Kristof, Hoops Mountain managing partner.

The hazing allegation surfaced two weeks ago and Stonehill terminated its agreement with Hoop Mountain Nov. 22 "for its failure to meet its supervisory and safety obligations," according to a statement released yesterday. The college requires "all outside recreational camps renting the College's facilities" to comply with state law, according to the statement.

Nine members of the Andover High team were attending the overnight camp when the incident reportedly occurred. Gibbs said the dorms are "very well supervised" during the camp and Hoop Mountain has never faced other hazing allegations. Athletes attend the camps for "top play basketball experience."

"We would never allow something like this," Gibbs said.

The Andover Police Department is helping Easton Police in the investigation. School officials are conducting a separate probe which could be wrapped up this week. School Superintendent Marinel McGrath has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

A source confirmed the two students who were the alleged ringleaders of the hazing attended yesterday's tryouts for the Andover High boys basketball team. Students involved in hazing face disciplinary action from suspension to expulsion, according to Andover Public School policy.

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