TRAVERSE CITY — A police report details an underage drinking incident that prompted suspensions of eight Traverse City West Senior High School football players prior to their team’s playoff game.
A Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department report states the West football players — five of whom were 17 years old, two 18 and one 16 — gathered at a teammate’s Long Lake Township home on the evening of Oct. 26 to watch a college football game. Several other West students joined them throughout the night.
A woman who owns the home and is the mother of one of the players was at a Halloween party and did not return to the residence until about midnight. Some of the football players took beer from her refrigerator and drank it while she was gone, according to the report.
The woman could not be reached for comment.
She told a sheriff’s deputy she found several of her son’s friends watching television when she arrived home, the report states. She also noticed six to 10 cans of beer missing and found two empty cans in the sink.
She told the deputy none of the youths appeared “highly intoxicated,” but she took their car keys to keep them from driving, according to the report.
Students interviewed by the deputy admitted alcohol was consumed at the house. They said the woman did not provide it, nor did she know the youths were drinking.
Traverse City Area Public Schools officials suspended the players from the playoff game, including four starters on offense, after one of the players who “felt bad about the situation” reported it to a football coach, the report states. School officials also contacted the sheriff’s department.
The Trojans lost their playoff game to Rockford on Nov. 1.
The sheriff’s department report was forwarded to Grand Traverse County prosecutors for review. County Prosecutor Bob Cooney could not be reached for comment as to whether charges will be filed against the players or the homeowner.