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Recapping Auburn’s Softball Allegations

Courtesy of Auburn Athletics

According to ESPN, Auburn University President Steven Leath confirmed that the school has launched a “comprehensive review” of its softball program following allegations of inappropriate conduct under former coach Clint Myers and his son, former assistant coach Corey Myers.

Corey Myers resigned March 30, following allegations from five players who provided administrators with text messages from a teammate’s phone that they believed to be in an inappropriate relationship with the assistant coach. All of the five players who brought the allegations have since left the team.

Perhaps most troubling in these events is that the five players told ESPN that “Auburn officials responded to the presence of the texts by imposing a three-hour ‘quarantine,’ in which members of the team were kept in a room and told to delete the messages.”

This “quarantine” was prompted by the team’s refusal to board a bus with the player who they felt was engaged in “intimate” text messages with Corey Myers. One of the players told ESPN, “We said that if she gets on, we’re staying off…It was a team decision.”

The five players told ESPN that the school’s Executive Associate Athletic Director, Meredith Jenkins, told them they could be arrested for taking the text messages from the other player’s phone and they and ordered them to delete the messages.

The investigation has been ongoing for close to a year but it has received renewed attention following a Title IX complaint by former player Alexa Nemeth that read, in part: “Coach Clint Myers knowingly let his son Corey Myers have relations and pursue relations with multiple members of the team.” In July, Nemeth’s attorney also said in a letter to Auburn and Governor Ivey that Auburn’s softball program was “toxic” and “lacked any kind of institutional control.”

At the beginning of the week, Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement to ESPN and to Auburn’s general counsel that read: “Governor Ivey fully supports President Leath, and is sure that Auburn University will fully protect all its student-athletes.”

Following his son’s departure last spring, head coach Clint Myers retired on Aug. 24, saying he did so in hopes of “spending quality time with my wife, my children and my grandchildren.” A previous article by AL.com noted that Myers had been offered a contract extension but Leath said that was “totally false.”

This week, AL.com reported that it received a statement from Auburn University that read, in part:

“ESPN has written an important story about our softball team. It’s a serious matter. As a university that cares deeply about our student-athletes, we have taken this seriously since the first concerns were raised. An investigation was promptly launched when allegations were made. While we don’t by policy or law comment on personnel issues or issues related to students, any suggestion that Auburn Athletics or university administration didn’t take it seriously or didn’t act in the best interest of student-athletes is simply false.

“While the law requires us to protect the privacy of our students, tying our hands about what can be said publicly, there is a reason changes took place with the coaching staff. As much as we may want to give more details, we have been approached by some of the student-athletes involved, directly asking us to protect them because they don’t want their names made public. Once the facts were established, changes to the staff quickly followed. Honoring the student-athletes requests for privacy while taking necessary disciplinary action is not an easy line to walk when the media asks legitimate questions, but we did the right things at the right time for the right reasons.

“At all times, Auburn University will protect its students, obey privacy laws, and deal with anyone on staff who violates our high standards.”

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