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Username Post: Cornell Softball Problems        (Topic#23067)
rbg 
PhD Student
Posts: 1819

Reg: 10-20-14
05-07-19 09:35 AM - Post#284244    

Inspired by a report in last year's Daily Pennsylvanian about problems players had with the head coach of the softball team, several of Cornell's softball players reached out to the Daily Sun to discuss problems they have had with their coach.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/05/06/softball-p layers...

The article, like the 2018 DP articles about the softball team and the 2019 DP articles about the women's volleyball team, notes the many athletes who have left the program and the significant problems (physical and emotional) that others have had to face.

AD Noel, unlike Penn's AD Grace Calhoun, actually communicated to the paper's reporter about the issues. He feels that he and his staff have taken the accusations seriously, but there is nothing there. The athletes feel otherwise.

It is interesting that the UNC women's basketball team members and their parents made complaints about the coach, but it wasn't until the AD had an independent group come in and review the program that real changes occurred. With these 3 teams at Cornell & Penn having such internal problems, it would seem reasonable for an independent group to come in and evaluate to see if the players or the coach/administrators are more correct in their comments.

I know that is unlikely to happen, since Calhoun for example has only had an outside consultant oversee the school's own internal review of the Allen situation instead of having an independent evaluator.

 
rbg 
PhD Student
Posts: 1819

Reg: 10-20-14
05-13-19 09:17 AM - Post#284432    
    In response to rbg

Two players were kicked off the Cornell softball team after the season, and another quite voluntarily. The two athletes were some of the ones speaking to the Daily Sun for the article that came out last week.

The Athletic Department stated that the dismissal was not retaliatory in nature, but the individual players, their parents, a number of teammates and softball alum do not agree.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/05/10/two-cornel l-soft...

A family member of a softball player writes in defense of those kicked off the team and against the coach.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/05/11/letter-to- the-ed...

A large list of Coach Farlow's former teammates, players and coaches wrote a Letter to the Editor in support of the coach.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/05/11/letter-to- the-ed...

The UNC women's basketball team, while dealing with some similar and some different issues to the Cornell softball team, had voiced their concerns to its Athletic Department. As noted over at the Penn board, their softball and volleyball teams had spoken up against their respective coaches over the last year or so.

Cornell, like Penn, have said they have done internal reviews of the complaints and decided against any need for change in coaching staff. UNC ended up having an independent investigation and they found enough supporting information to recommend a change in leadership.

It would be interesting to see if the results would be different at Cornell and Penn if they had independent groups took a look into those programs.



 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22169

Reg: 11-21-04
05-14-19 07:17 AM - Post#284479    
    In response to rbg

This happens all the time in men's basketball and football. The difference is that usually, those who are not enamored with the coach transfer. You don't hire a coach and then let the players decide whether that coach is right for the school. The players have the right to leave or stay and not play for the coach. The school which hired the coach is not going to fire the coach absent performance issues over a period of time or gross impropriety. If they do not find the latter, they are not going to fire the coach. I don't quite understand the mentality of going to the school papers and trying to create a mob verdict on these coaches. It's just not the way to do things.

 
rbg 
PhD Student
Posts: 1819

Reg: 10-20-14
05-14-19 09:43 AM - Post#284487    
    In response to palestra38

From my reading of these 3 teams (I am including the Penn softball team that reported problems to the Daily Pennsylvanian in 2018), the athletes felt there were many members of the teams that had serious problems with the coaches that dealt with physical and emotional issues. They then went through proper channels by reporting the problems to the Athletic Department.

These athletes felt that the Athletic Departments did not do a thorough job evaluating the problems and basically closed the cases. Afterward feeling ignored by the ADs and their staffs, the athletes went to the school paper to discuss the problems.

If one or two team members have a problem with something like a lack of playing time, I can see that those people might just not mesh with a certain coach and then decided to leave the team or transfer. However, these 3 teams appeared to have a large number of players reporting concerns that went beyond simple problems.

Since these players are not unionized and have no representation other than themselves, why shouldn't they bond together and do whatever they can to try and change something they feel is unjust? The UNC women basketball players did this and were found by an independent investigator to be more truthful about the former coach and the culture of the program than that coach and her supporters.

Watching how things are playing out at schools and workplaces across the country, I think this type of situation will find its way into more areas, including men's basketball and football.

Since there are serious differences between accounts from the teams and the ADs, I feel independent investigations would be helpful to find out which group is more correct. If it turns out the players were more truthful, then the ADs offices could put reforms in place to be stronger for all parties going forward. If it turns out the ADs and their staffs were more truthful, then it would be helpful for them to show athletes that their investigations are thorough and tend to be accurate.

 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22169

Reg: 11-21-04
05-14-19 10:02 AM - Post#284489    
    In response to rbg

In my opinion, this is nothing at all analogous to a workplace discrimination issue (might that possibly be your area?). There are no rights to be on a team, nothing keeping any player at a school if they don't want to be there, and the suggestion of potential unionization issues because they aren't being paid makes a mockery of what the Ivy League is supposed to be about.

All I'll say, rather than repeat myself, is that I disagree with your conclusions on this.

 
rbg 
PhD Student
Posts: 1819

Reg: 10-20-14
05-14-19 11:40 AM - Post#284494    
    In response to palestra38

Like the Esformes issue, we just see things in a different manner.

What if the players from any or all of these teams were correct and it turns out that the ADs office(s) made mistakes in their investigations or conclusions?

 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22169

Reg: 11-21-04
Cornell Softball Problems
05-14-19 12:01 PM - Post#284496    
    In response to rbg

I haven't seen anything remotely approaching a situation where there should be intervention. If they don't like the situation, transfer. It's not as though these players didn't make their own decisions based on the coach. In the Penn situation, they aggressively lobbied against the coach being hired in the first place.

If you have evidence of abuse or sexual harassment, please bring it forward. If, as it seems, it is a personality issue, transfer. But not everything should be a public litigated issue. Calhoun has the right to make the hire and you have the right to criticize, but we shouldn't be calling for outside investigation unless there is serious abuse.

 
mountainred 
Senior
Posts: 351

Age: 52
Loc: Charleston, WV
Reg: 04-11-10
05-16-19 05:16 PM - Post#284592    
    In response to palestra38

  • palestra38 Said:
I don't quite understand the mentality of going to the school papers and trying to create a mob verdict on these coaches. It's just not the way to do things.



I take it you have been gone for a while P38; I hope it was somewhere nice. Unfortunately, in 2019 America, mob rule -- usually via social media -- is the preferred method to handle just about everything.

{end of snark}

The issue that concerns me are the allegations that Farlow ignored concussion protocols and otherwise forced players to play/practice when not healthy enough to do so. If true, those would be offenses worthy of firing a coach. The "coach was mean to me" stuff is likely just a coach who knows she's in trouble (she's won almost, but not quite, 28% of her games in 4 years at a program that used to be quite good) and is not handling the stress well.

My instinct is that the school didn't find anything on the concussion/injury angle -- the potential liability would encourage action -- and is otherwise just waiting for the end of Farlow's contract to move on. I'm sure they don't want to be paying two coaches for a sport that draws 100 people a game.

 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 22169

Reg: 11-21-04
05-18-19 03:36 PM - Post#284644    
    In response to mountainred

Just to be specific, I was talking about the Penn situation, which involved a coach in the first year. We at Penn certainly know how the stress of losing causes a coach to lose it (i.e., Glen Miller).

As far as the social media thing, sure I know about that, but I mean going to the school paper for a major "expose" without any effort to have a face to face with the coach.

 
rbg 
PhD Student
Posts: 1819

Reg: 10-20-14
05-28-19 11:56 AM - Post#284811    
    In response to palestra38

The Daily Sun published a letter from the father of a former softball player. Looking at the various team rosters, it seems that his child was a freshman on last year's team. His letter is a response to the supportive letter from Coach Farlow's coaches and former players.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/05/26/letter-to- the-ed...



 
mountainred 
Senior
Posts: 351

Age: 52
Loc: Charleston, WV
Reg: 04-11-10
05-29-19 02:42 PM - Post#284859    
    In response to rbg

Hmm. While the Dad's letter correctly states that Farlow's letter of support is little more than "we like our old friend," am I the only one who thinks having the dad inject himself into his daughter's fight isn't a great look? And the Larry Nassar reference is unhelpfully melodramatic. Even the worst allegation against Farlow (making women play through injuries) pales in comparison to Nassar's years of sexual abuse. As I said before, if Farlow is putting the health of her players at risk she should be fired, but that still is nothing like Nassar.

After reading that letter, I still think Cornell has a bad coach who is probably too mean and not successful enough to make players put up with it, but that the school doesn't think there is enough to fire for cause. And Cornell is NOT paying two softball coaches.

But if you know anyone who wants to be a D1 softball coach, Andy is probably collecting resumes.

 
Bryan 
Sophomore
Posts: 139

Loc: Philadelphia
Reg: 11-21-04
05-30-19 09:16 AM - Post#284881    
    In response to mountainred

I thought the letter by Christopher J. Dole was very well written. I assume he wrote it because he didn't want other Cornell softball players to go through conditions similar to the bad conditions he believes his daughter had to endure. Why would anyone who has read his letter want to play softball at Cornell (or to have their daughter play there)? That letter is probably the best source for negative recruiting I've ever read.

 
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