Questions Remain After Pine River Schools Cancels Remainder of Varsity Football Season

A number of questions remain to be answered after Pine River Area Schools suddenly canceled the rest of their varsity football season.

The superintendent said in a statement Thursday night the decision to cancel stemmed from allegations of bullying and harassment.

And since then, we’ve learned the Osceola County Sheriff is actively investigating it as a hazing case.

No one is saying much, at least publicly about the decision by the district to cancel the rest of the 2021 season, and that’s leaving plenty of questions about how severe the situation is.

Less than 24 hours before their final home game of the season, a stunning announcement by Pine River, the rest of the varsity football season was over.

The superintendent writing in a letter late Thursday the season was being called off after allegations of bullying and harassment and the football team had developed what he called a toxic culture, and a culture of hazing and bullying.

The district said not every team member was involved but many stood by and said nothing.

And enough players were involved in whatever was going on, the school said if it only removed those responsible from the team, there would not be enough players to field a full team.

Pine River Pkg6 101500 00 45 22still001What’s not clear is what the bullying or hazing may have entailed, how long it was going on or when the school found out.

The superintendent said investigations are ongoing.

The superintendent did say there is a significant amount of evidence pointing to a season-long history of what he described as mistreatment of one group of players by another.

But the school has also not said if any students, faculty or staff have been suspended or face suspension.

The sheriff said the police report is not complete yet, but that report would be sent to the county prosecutor once it’s complete.

We have also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the school to try and answer some of these questions.