Some might say the members of the Gamma Phi Gamma fraternity at Ohio's Wilmington College were having a ball. Others might argue they went a little nuts.
One thing's certain: Thirteen Wilmington College students and one alumnus were arrested and charged with misdemeanors after a fraternity hazing ritual ended with one pledge requiring surgical removal of a testicle.
What's the story behind this modern Greek tragedy?
Hazed and Contused
Hazing has become a persistent issue at universities around the country, with deaths, injuries, and lawsuits hitting universities big (such as Cornell) and small, such as Wilmington College, a private liberal arts college in southwestern Ohio.
According to Reuters, more than 20 members of the fraternity watched as pledges were blindfolded and told to eat vinegar-soaked bananas they were told was feces and had "Icy Hot" heat rub applied to their nipples, buttocks, and scrotums.
One man, who was charged with misdemeanor assault, was accused of hitting a pledge with a knotted towel in the scrotum. The hospital notified police after the pledge was admitted with injuries that required surgery to remove one of his testicles.
Misdemeanor Hazing Alleged
Fourteen of the men present at the frat house that night, including the man charged with assault, were charged with misdemeanor hazing. Under Ohio law, participating in hazing -- defined as coercing another to do any act of initiation into any student organization that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm -- is a fourth degree misdemeanor. A fourth degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
This is the second hazing incident to make headlines in Ohio in 2014. Earlier this year, two high school football coaches in Elmore, Ohio, were named in a lawsuit brought by parents of a teen who suffered severe head injuries after taking part in a football drill that required he let other players hit him as hard as they could.