Rutgers softball needs change, but not discipline, the report said

A law firm released a report Tuesday alleging physical and mental abuse on Rotgers University’s softball program that described inappropriate behavior by coaches and a lack of communication from administrators but stopped recommending discipline.

The report was supposed to be published, which was requested by Rotgers After the NJ Advance Media investigation, A seven-month investigation by Lowesten Sandler’s law firm into allegations of coaching Kristen Butler and volunteer assistant coach Marcus Smith, her husband, has fueled an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and abuse after taking charge in the 2019 season.

Ten of the 22 players left the program after the 2012 season, the report said.

Butler and Smith could not immediately be reached for comment. An email to Butler was not immediately returned and his voicemail box was full and did not receive messages. Contact information for Smith was not immediately available.

Players claim they have endured dangerous conditioning sessions, sometimes as punishment, which regularly put them in crisis and caused them physical and emotional abuse, NJ Advance Media reported in October 2016.

In one example, players were forced to run a sprint after a cracker barrel restaurant went for $ 6 more than the team budget. In another, a player vomited but Butler told him to “spread your puppy and go, you can do it,” according to a report on Tuesday.

The report concludes that the use of Butler’s conditioner was not the best practice, with three law enforcement experts saying it was not uncommon, and the authors of the report conclude that “the practice warns against viewing Butler’s work as unreasonable or corrupt.” . “

The report notes that Rutgers ’shift to the Big 10 conference has changed the school’s focus from a“ culture of participating in a culture of victory ”. Butler, who played at the University of Florida and coached at the University of Toledo before coming to Rotgers, inherited a team that ended the conference with a 4-1 final record in the last 201 record and led to sixth place and an 11-12 league record in 2019. .

In an interview with investigators, Smith denied, among other allegations, when he entered a team bus during a player change and a player saw text messages received from his boyfriend and commented on them. Some players said they felt they could not tell Butler about Smith’s behavior because he was her husband.

He also denied several player accounts that he told a player who was recovering from a knee injury and did not want to take part in a “belief” exercise that fell into the arms of other players that he would push him if he did not stop. Jump.

The player, who then moved on, told investigators he was suffering from a panic attack after the episode. The report concludes that Smith’s denial is not credible and says Butler should have been more sensitive.

The report recommends that Rutgers review the policy of allowing husbands to coach in the same team and to oversee husbands more thoroughly before re-hiring assistants. This suggests that the school be more transparent about how players’ complaints are handled.

Butler was described as being acceptable to critics and willing to change. The 2020 team players told investigators that he was “very different this year in terms of his coaching and his relationship with the players, so the players were not afraid to go into less anxiety and consequence.”

In an emailed statement, Rutgers president Robert Barchi said the report “noted significant improvements from 2012 to 2020. It also includes a number of recommendations, some of which are already underway.”

Rutgers’ recent athletic history has been marred by problems. Petra Martin, the university’s women’s swimming and diving coach, was fired in November 2017 amid allegations of mental and verbal abuse. Football coach Kyle Flood and athletic director Julie Herman were fired two years ago in the wake of academic scandals and the arrest of several players.

Basketball coach Mike Rice was fired in 2013 after a video showed players using anti-gay slurs to practice and throwing, throwing and throwing balls. Athletic director Tim Parnetti was also fired.

About the author: Dale Freeman

Typical organizer. Pop culture fanatic. Wannabe entrepreneur. Creator. Beer nerd.

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