September 25, 2022

Cal female swim coach Teri McKeever and his lawyer, Thomas Newkirk, have yet to deny allegations of verbal, emotional and physical abuse by nearly 60 people. Instead, after McKeever was placed on administrative leave on May 25, they took the position that she is a victim of gender bias, saying her methods are “normal training behaviorfor her male counterparts.

Abuse shouldn’t be normal, of course, but unfortunately it may have been normalized by Cal’s athletic department. In November 2020, a KTVU investigation revealed that nearly two dozen current and former female soccer players accused the women’s soccer head coach Neil McGuire of systemic intimidation similar to McKeever.

“I’m mentally strong and it was the first time I was down,” said Hannah Koski, who went to Cal on a scholarship in 2013 but ultimately left the team due to what she described as emotional abuse. “I was so scared of this man.”

Former Cal Guardian Olivia Sekany says McGuire often shamed her, which led her to excessively diet and train accordingly.

“I was just trying to fix what was wrong with me so he would stop chasing me so I could play football because that’s all I wanted to do,” Sekany said.

Several players described an incident they called “Raingate”, when McGuire punished his team for holding a practice in the rain after canceling the practice. The players say McGuire raced them until many needed medical attention from the coaching staff.

“I had a super light head,” said Caroline Clark, a midfielder who arrived on campus in 2017. “I was lying on the training table, with my feet up, to face the situation. And first it was me, then another girl came down to lift her feet, then another girl came down to lift her feet, and in the end there was just a row of girls on the verge to faint. Because he overworked us so much and no one understood why.

Clark ended up quitting the team and losing his scholarship.

“Which boiled down to: all the love I had for football, [McGuire] completely swept away and I was no longer happy,” Clark said.

Several players have reported needing therapy and medication to manage the stress and anxiety caused by McGuire.

“It wasn’t a screamer problem – it was emotional and mental abuse because he treated some girls so badly that they started to become depressed and mentally unstable,” said Renee Thomaswho sued the school for violating Title IX after being cut in 2019 only for having it complaint dismissed less than a year later.

Like members of the women’s swim team, female soccer players have also had their complaints ignored by athletic department administrators.

“We started talking and the two [administrators] looked at us like we had five heads,” Sekany said. “They said they had never heard anything bad about Neil McGuire. When we used terms like ’emotional abuse’ they were kind of condescending, like we didn’t understand the implications of the use of terminology like that – which we did. We discussed it at length and decided that it was a very appropriate term to describe what he had done to us.

Years earlier, Koski said his formal complaint was also ignored by administrators.

Cal told KTVU he is reviewing the allegations against McGuire. But nothing has been made public for nearly two years, and he has continued to coach, uninterrupted, during that time. The university’s director of communications told KTVU in 2020 that “this year’s recruiting class for our women’s soccer team was ranked No. 1 in the country, a sure sign of the quality and excellent reputation from the program”.

McGuire’s team has actually underperformed under his leadership lately. Over the past two seasons, Cal has only gone 13-14-4. During McGuire’s 15-year tenure, Cal has appeared in 12 NCAA tournaments, but only one since 2018. The farthest they’ve been in the NCAA tournament under McGuire is the second round, and they haven’t made it. this far since 2014. His contract was renewed this year.

Newkirk will likely argue that Cal’s response to the allegations against four-time national champion McKeever demonstrates a double standard over the school’s inaction toward McGuire. Newkirk is the same lawyer who represented swimming coaches Janelle Atkinson (stony stream) and Petra Martin (Rutgers) in sex discrimination cases. Atkinson received a $385,000 settlement, while Martin received a $725,000 settlement.

McKeever was granted a two-year contract extension in January 2020, long after his allegedly abusive behavior was reported to administrators. The contract expires April 30, 2024 and has an annual base salary of $242,000 as well as $55,000 in potential bonuses.

May 27, Cal hired the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson to conduct a formal investigation into the allegations against McKeever which could take up to six months. She is also being investigated by the US Center for SafeSport, according to the CO register.

Over the past six years, six Cal sports programs have been the subject of serious allegations — men’s basketball, rowing, diving and soccer as well as women’s soccer and women’s swimming. In 2016, an assistant basketball coach was fired for proposing a reporter for sex, the Cal rowing coach Mike Teti was accused by a former female team member of failing to report when she told her that a male team member had sexually assaulted her, and the university fined diving coach for sexually harassing colleague. In 2019, a sports medicine intern said she was sexually assaulted by a football coach.

Cal seems to have some serious issues within his athletic department, and those issues don’t stop at McKeever.

Update: Cal’s assistant athletic director responded to SwimSwam’s question about whether the university’s review of the allegations against McGuire had already been completed.

“As you may already know, providing a specific answer to your question would require us to violate policies and laws protecting employee privacy and/or employee due process. Providing the specific information you request would confirm the existence of a specific investigation or investigation. We cannot do this. The fact that we cannot confirm the existence of an investigation cannot be interpreted to mean that there has not been of investigation.

“Without commenting on any specific complaints made against any coach or ‘colleague’, current Cal Athletics management does not condone any employee action or behavior that violates policy. The fact that we cannot comment on past or present staffing issues does not mean that complaints are ignored. When current Cal Athletics management is made aware of allegations of policy violations or complaints regarding employee behavior, it responds as a department, as appropriate, or refers the matter to the appropriate campus investigation offices, if necessary. Complaints that do not allege policy violations are assessed and management actions may be taken based on those complaints. »