Football to continue at Wall, NJ after criminal hazing investigation
WALL — There will be another season of Crimson Knight football after this year's season was tainted by hazing allegations that led to the cancellation of the team's final two games including a playoff matchup.
But the district is still in the legal thick of it with the allegations and the fallout of how the district handled the incident.
Board of Education President Ralph Addonizio told New Jersey 101.5 in a statement there's more to football that just players.
"We have cheerleaders, twirlers, color guard and our award-winning band that put on a show every week for our students and residents. Wall High School has had and continues to have many talented students both on the field and off that have represented our district and town with honor and dignity," Addonizio said. "As a district, part of a well rounded school experience includes sports and the arts."
Addonizio said athletes also benefit from the football program.
"Many students depend on scholarships for college and to limit their ability to earn one would not be in the best interest of our students," Addonizio said.
New leadership for Wall football
The program will continue without Tony Grandinetti, the head football coach since 2017. The district placed an ad for a new head coach on the website NJSchoolJobs.com, a site that works with the state Department of Education, the NJEA and local districts to post job openings.
Grandinetti and three coaches were suspended as the allegations become public.
Addonizio said he could not comment on Grandinetti's status as a business teacher at Wall High School. He is still listed on the school website. According to payroll documents Grandinetti has worked in the district for three years with a salary of $57,300.
Lawsuits against the Wall school district
Armen McOmber who told NJ.com he represents “multiple” players has served a notice of tort on the Board of Education, the first step towards filing a lawsuit against a public agency. He did not disclose why the lawsuits are being filed.
McOmber on Monday did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
Attorney Chris Adams who is representing one of students charged with juvenile complaints of hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, and harassment would not say if his client is considering a lawsuit. He also had no comment about the McOmber lawsuit.
He has said the incident was nothing more than "horseplay" among teenagers and not sexual in nature.
"Family members and lawyers wishing to sue the school should stop trying to sensationalize this for their own gain and tell the truth about what happened with these children," Adams told New Jersey 101.5.
What happened in the Wall high school locker room?
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has not provided details of what took place in the locker room because the law and court rules prevent them from revealing most details in matters involving underage suspects.
The content of videos of the reported hazing have been widely reported to have involved a broomstick. New Jersey 101.5 has not viewed the video.
The family of a hazing victim was outraged over Adams' characterization of the incident.
"Getting poked in the stomach and belly? He firmly believed that he was about to be sodomized and was scared to death. Mental scars that he will have to carry for the rest of his life," a family spokesman said about the victim's experience.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ