AKRON, Ohio-- Eleven Coventry High School wrestlers are suspended from school after an alleged hazing incident before a wrestling match.
Now, Summit County sheriff's deputies are trying to determine if the case warrants criminal charges.
Two of the students are being recommended for expulsion, and the superintendent also suspended the wrestling head coach.
"We have a very strict policy on bullying and harassment and hazing, and we did call this a hazing incident, and we certainly will not tolerate it," said Coventry Local Schools Superintendent Rusty Chaboudy.
He said 11 upperclass members of the high school wrestling team were suspended for assaulting eight freshman wrestlers before a match on Thursday, Feb. 6 that was held in the middle school gym.
"There was a meet that night and the kids showed up an hour earlier than they were supposed to. They got into the locker room and they got these younger kids in there and once they were in there, they hit them with their fists, kicked them, pushed them around, slapped them," said Chaboudy.
The superintendent said the accusations came to his attention Monday when two parents reported it to school officials.
He also suspended head wrestling coach Keith Shinn; although Shinn was not present at the time of the incident.
"He is the leader of that program and during the investigation, we want to find out exactly what happened, how those kids were in the locker room before there was a coach there. Who was supervising them?" said the superintendent.
"I actually couldn't believe it. I was kind of shocked that they would do something like that because I thought they actually liked the freshmen," said Coventry freshman, Jordan Meadows.
"I'm shocked. I never in a million years would have thought that our kids would have done anything like that," said her grandmother, Rosanne Edwardson.
"I don't think any of the stuff they're saying, the serious stuff, is true," said Eric Owens.
The senior said he believes the incident is being blown out of proportion. "I know the kids. That stuff goes on. I mean picking on the younger kids, but I just think they're trying to make a bigger deal out of it than what it is," Owens said.
The superintendent said he is unaware of any serious injuries. He said all of the wrestlers involved wrestled that evening and on Saturday.
FOX 8 tried to contact Coach Shinn, but we have not received a response.
According to Inspector Bill Holland with the Summit County Sheriff's Office, no criminal charges have been filed.