Everyone knows that, in the heat of competition, athletes, coaches, and fans can get pretty fired up. However, that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to say or do anything they want. There are still lines that people just should not cross. For fans that means not running on to the field, or beating each other up. For players that means not violently assaulting referees. And for coaches, that means not verbally or physically abusing their players.
Unfortunately, these lines are crossed all the time. However, never is this more shocking and disappointing than when it’s college coaches who go too far. They have a position of power over their athletes that their professional counterparts do not. Pro athletes have millions of dollars and powerful unions; college athletes have nothing but their ability. They risk having their scholarships revoked or their pro careers jeopardized by speaking out against an abusive coach.
The Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations and Learning of Students (GOALS) survey conducted by the NCAA included 19,920 athletes (40 percent women) from 609 colleges, representing 11 men’s and 13 women’s sports sanctioned by the NCAA. This study looked only at verbal abuse by asking players whether a coach ridiculed or put them down in front of others. Abusive behavior by college coaches has been a growing concern, following several high-profile incidents of coaches being fired or sued by players for alleged abusive behavior, including screaming insults, shoving or kicking athletes.
Players who said they had abusive coaches also were more likely to report that their coaches didn’t create an inclusive team environment and that both their coaches and teammates were less respectful of people from other racial or ethnic groups and less accepting of differing viewpoints and cultures, according to the study.
We advocate on behalf of the student-athlete and their families helping them:
1) understand what their rights are.
2) determine if any violations have occurred including Title IX violations.
3) who do they need to talk with.
4) what plan of action they should consider.
5) Participate in meetings with the school.