Coastal Carolina University’s cheerleading team has been suspended indefinitely pending a conduct investigation, officials said.
Coastal officials refused to discuss the nature of the investigation or what specifically led the university to suspend the entire team.
Coastal Public Safety Director David Roper said he was not at liberty to comment on the situation and Coastal Vice President William M. Plate Jr. said there are currently no police reports pertaining to the conduct investigation.
The cheerleading section of the CCU Athletics website has been removed from the website, and now directs to the school’s main Spirit Team page.
The HTC Center confirmed that a cheerleading showcase scheduled for April 4 was removed from the center’s schedule for the week. The showcase was to be held ahead of the team’s scheduled appearance at a national competition in Florida. Competition officials said the team is still registered and paid in full, and they have not heard the team will not be coming.
An unnamed cheerleader who spoke to the Chronicle’s news partner WMBF told the television station that an investigator with the Coastal’s Department of Public Safety came to their practice on March 29. Team members were questioned by police and were allowed to leave after being told they did nothing wrong, according to the WMBF report.
Coastal cheerleaders declined to talk about the situation, but they issued a statement via Twitter:
“At this point in time, we no longer wish to be contacted about the current situation,” they wrote. “The false accusations have led to harassment on campus as well as through social media, and are beginning to negatively impact our daily lives as well as our studies. As a team we ask the community to support us through these tough times as we hope the situation will be cleared up shortly.”
Audra Scofield, the school’s former cheerleading coach who took a job at the University of Texas-San Antonio last year, expressed support for the cheerleaders on her Facebook page.
“It has been very difficult for me to not vocalize my personal opinions all over social media these past two days,” she wrote last week. “I spent three years of my life coaching this program and have some of my best memories with these young adults. I have a very heavy heart for this team and have felt almost every emotion possible. … I pray that these young women and men, students of Coastal Carolina receive the support they deserve from the community during this scandal.”
Scofield wrote that she was choosing her words carefully.
“Let’s be honest,” she wrote. “There is a reason this team has not had a paid coach on staff all year. Even without a certified cheer coach on staff they have still managed to cover ALL the athletic events, appearances, conference tournament, fundraising events and post season basketball tournament games. Not to mention they prepared themselves to attend nationals. Justice will be served ladies.”