Former Rhode Island Basketball Coach Investigated for Naked Body Evaluations

November 3, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching
A middle school basketball coach from Rhode Island is on administrative leave and under investigation after being accused of performing “fat tests” on naked or nearly naked student-athletes.

According to an investigative report from WPRI-TV, former North Kingstown High School boys basketball coach Aaron Thomas has been placed on leave at his current position while the state’s attorney general looks into the allegations.

rhode-islandThomas led the North Kingstown boys varsity basketball program for more than two decades and won the school’s first-ever state title in 2019. Yet two years after that championship run, Thomas stepped down from the position and took on a job at a neighboring town’s middle school, according to WPRI’s report.

The revelation of possible misconduct was breached following a months-long investigation from the WPRI crew that found former student-athletes who came forward with allegations that their former head coach asked them to take off their clothes for years.

In WPRI’s report, Thomas would ask the players to strip followed by requests of stretching, sitting cross-legged, and allowing him to use a caliper to pinch and measure body fat. These details came from documents obtained by WPRI and interviews with 10 anonymous former students, parents, and town officials.

As part of its investigation, WPRI-TV contacted five professional personal trainers. Each said it is unnecessary to be naked for such a test.

Examinations of body fat are known technically as skinfold caliper measurements, but students in Rhode Island town just called them “fat tests.” Tests were done without parental consent or anyone else present, according to the people interviewed along with police records obtained by WPRI-TV.

Several students said the naked testing struck them as “weird” at the time, especially because they didn’t appear to be connected to any type of exercising or dieting regimen. But because it was their coach asking them to take off their clothes, they said they trusted him. And several explained that they were never physically forced to get naked.

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