Police, school district investigate locker room assault after East High football game

The assault occurred after East High’s loss to Olympus High School on Sept. 15

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) An East High School football player was hospitalized after what Salt Lake City police described as an assault following a Sept. 15 football game.

An East High School football player was hospitalized after what Salt Lake City police described as an assault following a Sept. 15 football game, according to a police statement and a message the team’s head coach sent to parents.

Salt Lake City police and school district officials are investigating the assault, which police said happened at the high school at about 10 p.m. that Friday evening, the same day the football team lost to Olympus High School.

The case is currently assigned to a school resource officer. Though police declined to release more information, East High football coach Brandon Matich sent a message to the team’s families and football community addressing the situation. The Salt Lake Tribune obtained the message through a public records request.

The assault involved at least two student athletes, Matich’s message indicates. One was taken to a hospital, he said, though Matich did not describe the injuries. But Matich visited the student in the hospital the night of the “locker room incident,” Matich wrote, and the student was “doing well.”

“Upon arrival he was up walking around, smiling, on his phone and communicating with us about the incident, the game and life,” the coach wrote.

Matich added that the two students involved had talked and “I believe made peace.”

In addressing the assault, Matich wrote that “East High Football does not condone physical violence under any circumstance. And we are working to resolve the issue.”

He noted that staff held a three-hour meeting to discuss their “options” and make sure all student athletes feel “safe and protected.” At the time of his writing, he added that staff planned to meet again, and that the school’s administrators and athletic director had been invited “to be a part of the discussion and solution.”

“There are several layers to unfold, investigate and correct, before making a decision on consequences and accountability.” Matich wrote. “I assure you, all avenues are being looked at and evaluated.”

Matich went on to write that the assault was an “isolated incident,” adding that “emotions, actions and reactions created an unwanted, difficult situation.”

“So please be patient,” he wrote, “and know this has consumed our focus.”

It’s unclear if anyone involved in the assault will face charges. The students have not been identified, and a spokesperson with the Salt Lake County district attorney’s said that without their names, he could not research whether a case had been presented to prosecutors.

The athletic eligibility and enrollment status of the students involved also remains unclear.

In a statement Monday, Salt Lake City School District spokesperson Jason Olsen said that “depending on the outcome of the investigation, we will take any necessary and appropriate action.”