Sexting emerged as a serious problem in schools as early 2005, with 20 percent of American teens claiming they sent or received sexts by 2009. Now it seems something similar to sexting is getting high school athletes into trouble.
According to the Associated Press, players for Apollo-Ridge High School in Western Pennsylvania have been suspended for an undisclosed number of games because of "inappropriate texts." The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review claims that the texts were sent using cell phone cameras during training camp, while WPXI news cites a claim from Apollo-Ridge Superintendent Margaret DiNinno that the texts happened over the summer. The athletic director and head football coach of Apollo-Ridge have yet to make public statements, but DiNinno confirmed that the suspensions were a direct result of inappropriate texting, but not sexting.
"As we know and define sexting, that is not what occurred here," DiNinno said. "It certainly does not warrant the extreme concern some people might feel relative to a typical sexting scenario."
It's not clear what pictures the players sent in their texts, or if those pictures were part of some type of hazing, but the pictures had to capture something serious enough to warrant a suspension of multiple games. After all, if the players were only going to be suspended from the season opener, that would already be acknowledged as a one-game ban.
Regardless of suspension length, all the players involved will miss at least the season opener at Indiana High School on Friday. The missing players could be a hit for the Vikings, too, as the Class AA Allegheny Conference squad faces off against a larger school and program from Class AAA.
Apollo-Ridge will have to get by, but DiNinno is hoping that some good can come from the suspensions, regardless of team results.
"Sometimes, these things turn into learning opportunities," she told the Tribune-Review. "These are kids. We're hoping they learn from this, and it prevents something more serious from happening in the future."