Viera Hawks Football Program Cleared to Resume Practice and Games, Will Take on Satellite Friday Night on the Road
By Space Coast Daily // August 27, 2023
Viera High School varsity and junior varsity football teams to return to competition this week
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Public Schools officials announced Sunday afternoon that the Viera Hawks football program has been cleared to resume practice and games starting this week after an investigation into a hazing incident that happened with members of the football team that was recorded on video.
“The decision has been made to allow the Viera High varsity and junior varsity football teams to return to competition this week,” said a spokesperson for Brevard Public Schools.
“Several factors went into today’s decision, including players and parents attending a meeting shortly after the hazing incident was discovered, players and coaches taking part in an anti-hazing educational program, the players remaining engaged during two late-week practices, and progress in the hazing investigation. The school district will continue to monitor the team’s activities moving forward to ensure the student-athletes are meeting expectations.”
The Hawks are scheduled to take on the Satellite Scorpions on the road on Friday night.
PREVIOUS STORY: No Forfeit For Viera Football, South Fork and Hawks Will Reschedule Friday’s Week 1 Football Game
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – As a result of Brevard Public Schools Board Chairman Matt Susin reaching out to school board members in Martin County, South Fork has rescinded their statement that Viera High School had forfeited their Week 1 game on Friday, and instead will moved forward to reschedule the game later in the season.
“I am very proud that my fellow colleagues in Martin County saw that we were holding the individuals responsible for the acts accountable, but agreed to not punish the students who did nothing wrong,” said Susin.
“This is a complete reversal from yesterday when the head of athletics from Martin County, who is also the athletic director of South Fork High School, went to social media and posted that the Viera High football team had forfeited the contest.”
After being made aware of South Fork’s statement, Susin communicated with BPS Superintendent Dr. Rendell and Head of Athletics Kevin Robinson to confirm that they had not agreed to forfeit. Both stated no such agreement had been made, according to Susin.
“After hearing that, I was upset that Mr. (Ed) Geiger (South Fork High athletic director) would state that, and I got to work,” said Susin. “I think there was a communication error that we resolved and can now move forward.”
Viera High School is still investigating the individuals involved in the incident criminally but have allowed those not involved to begin practicing again today.
SEE RELATED STORIES BELOW:
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Varsity football game on Friday night has been cancelled. JV will play at home next Wednesday and Varsity will resume their season away at Fort Pierce next Thursday. #GOBULLDOGS pic.twitter.com/w07r4JHftL
— South Fork Athletics (@SFAthletics) August 22, 2023
South Fork High athletic director Ed Geiger announced on social media that he has accepted a forfeit from Viera High School football team officials for Friday night’s game that was to be played in Stuart.
“Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Varsity football game on Friday night has been cancelled,” said Geiger. “JV will play at home next Wednesday and Varsity will resume their season away at Fort Pierce next Thursday.”
Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Rendell released a statement on Sunday announcing all varsity and junior varsity Viera High School football team activities have been suspended until further notice in response to a hazing incident that happened with members of the football team that was recorded on video.
Rendell went on to say varsity head coach Shane Staples has been relieved of his duties and several players were suspended until further notice.
Rendell’s released this statement on Sunday afternoon:
Hazing, bullying, and intimidation have no place in Brevard Public Schools. We have spent the past several days investigating the hazing incident involving members of the Viera High football team.
Today, we have made the decision to suspend all Viera High football team activities (varsity and junior varsity) until further notice and we have relieved the varsity head coach of his duties until further notice.
In an effort to educate the team to the seriousness of this incident, all Viera High football players will he required to take part in an anti-hazing educational program before there is a possibility that the football program could be reinstated.
We will also host a parent-player team meeting to begin the process of improving team culture and raising expectations. Per BPS procedure, the players suspended for their actions will not be permitted to attend the meeting.
I am confident a decision on the future of this year’s football season and the suspended players will be made soon. With that said, it is important to remember that this investigation is not over; district security, law enforcement, and the school district are still collecting information.
Again, hazing has no place in Brevard Public Schools, and we must always act in the best interest and safety of our students.
This is a developing story, stay tuned to Space Coast Daily for updates.
PREVIOUS RELATED STORY:
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA (Aug. 19, 2023) — Viera High School officials are investigating an alleged hazing incident that happened with members of the football team that was recorded on video prior to the start of the school on Aug. 10.
There have been mixed reports and speculation of what exactly occurred, and the following statement from Viera High School Principal Heather LeGate outlining the situation was released Saturday evening:
Hello, Hawk Nation.
I wish the victories at the kickoff classic weren’t overshadowed by the situation currently circulating within our school community. As I’ve said to you before, I believe in transparency with my parents and community but there are times when the information I can give is limited.
Anytime students are involved, I must adhere to FERPA, (Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act), when speaking about an incident.
This prohibits me from giving names, details, and outcomes of disciplinary action. I can tell you that there was an incident this week involving multiple students. Please rest assured that I am investigating the situation and following the discipline policy set forth by Brevard Public Schools. I know that we are all on the same page about keeping every student safe on and off campus and appreciate your continued support.
M.Ed. Principal Viera High School
The 45-second video, which was apparently shot by Viera football players in a locker room setting, has been circulated on social media and depicts the incident that LeGate is now investigating.
“There is an ongoing investigation into the actions of multiple Viera High School students,” said a Brevard Public Schools spokesperson. “Our focus is to work with district security and school-based administrators to complete a thorough investigation in a timely manner.”
The Hawk football team’s 2023 regular season begins next Friday at South Fork.