New Jersey football program hit by hazing scandal to return

The New Jersey high school football program that had its season canceled amid hazing and sexual assault allegations will return.

Sayreville School Superintendent Rick Labbe announced Tuesday night that the program would resume at Sayreville High School for the 2015 season.

The announcement was greeted with a round of applause from parents and administrators in the audience, reported.

"I believe very strongly after the last several months that football is a very important part of our athletic programs and our community and therefore, in consultation with our Board of Education, I am pleased to announce to you this evening that we will have a 2015 football season," Labbe said.

The superintendent canceled the 2014 season on Oct. 5, days before seven players were accused of hazing and sexually assaulting four teammates inside the locker room. The boys will be tried in juvenile court.

Richard Labbe, the superintendent, said at the time that “there was enough evidence to substantiate there were incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at the level in which players knew, tolerated and in general accepted.”

None of the coaches have been charged. But the football team's longtime head coach remains suspended indefinitely with pay from his tenured physical education teaching position at the high school. George Najjar compiled a 165-54 record during 20 seasons at Sayreville, including going 21-13 in postseason play.

The New Jersey school is a state football powerhouse by any measure. The school has played in 18 consecutive New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs and generated more than $244,000 in merchandise and donations from 2008 to 2012, The New York Times reported.

Four assistants were suspended with pay from their tenured teaching positions on Oct. 16, but all were reinstated on Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, the school board accepted the resignation of athletics director John Kohutanycz, effective June 30.

School officials never said why Kohutanycz was suspended with pay on Dec. 17.

The Associated Press contributed to this report