On Jan. 19, the Clovis Unified School District expelled 17-year-old Preston Hill, a senior at Buchanan High School and captain of the wrestling team.
His crime: performing a “butt drag,” a wrestling move, on a freshman teammate. His charges: sexual battery and bullying. The consequences: expulsion and possibly jail time.
A “butt drag” is a wrestling maneuver where the wrestler grabs his opponent’s buttocks in an attempt to gain leverage over him.
Hill told the Fresno Police Department that this is the move he did during practice. The plaintiff alleged that Hill inserted his fingers in his anus.
Though the “butt drag” is a legal wrestling move, Hill’s application of it — he admitted to inserting his fingers in the alleged victim’s anus to get him to wrestle, a doctor found bruising on the boy’s anus and Hill was accused of bullying the boy beforehand — was definitely wrong.
Hill, who was suspended from Buchanan High in August 2010, was a star wrestler for Buchanan, and his coach and fellow teammates thought he would “never intentionally hurt another teammate.”
However, in this incident, Hill appeared to take the move too far, and the added charge of bullying only makes the case that much more serious.
While The Collegian doesn’t think that harmless hazing should be severely punished — the classic case is dumping the “newbie” in a trash can — any mention of sexual abuse drastically changes the terms of the debate.
There’s something to be said for the “sissifying” of America, but a freshman refusing to tattle on a senior who jams his fingers into his anus is not the exemplar of a “tough guy.”
As captain of the wrestling team, Hill should have set an example for his fellow teammates by welcoming his new freshman teammates into the program, not by taking the “butt drag” a step too far. As an athlete who was eligible for several college scholarships, he should’ve been leading his team on the wrestling mat and contemplating his supposedly bright future. Instead, he now has to wonder “what if?” and live with the consequences of his actions.
Clovis Unified’s decision to expel him was the right one, and hopefully the action will curb any potential abuse of the wrestling move in the future.