AuburnFamilyNews.com: Auburn Softball Program Under Fire

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Auburn Softball Program Under Fire

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Auburn fans were dealt a double whammy this week following coach Clint Myers’ unexpected resignation when news broke on every major sports site regarding new information that uncovered what many fans feared but sort of expected: a scandal. ESPNW published an article on the subject that paints a picture of a corrupt softball program. The sports conglomerate sited actions and quotes from a lot of people within and around the program. However, I caution everyone to be objective, especially when it comes to the information within the article; which paints an “us versus them” theory between coaches and players and does its best to trash Auburn’s softball program.  

ESPNW broke the news that former player Alexa Nemeth was the plaintiff in a Title IX case that alleges sexual harassment from the coaching staff and a cover up by the administration. However, Nemeth wasn’t the only player on record as having complaints against Corey Myers. Former players Blaire Bass, Haley Fagan, Whitney Jordan and Emily Spain have had specific complaints against the coaching staff. 

My issue here is that ESPN used a lot of quotes and history out of context to paint this program very negatively and without much base. 

“We said that if she gets on, we’re staying off,” Fagan said. “It was a team decision.” 

Here’s another one from from ESPN that appeared on Al.com:

“According to ESPN, five players said during that March 30 meeting Auburn executive associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator Meredith Jenkins told the players they were risking arrest for taking the text messages from their teammate’s phone and ordered them to delete the messages.”

These are important quotes that gets glossed over. The articles paint the administration in a bad light over the “quarantine” yet they were doing the right thing, considering that Nemeth’s privacy had been breached. Myers resigned just prior to the trip to Georgia. His resignation seems to have stemmed from the appearance of  texts between himself and Nemeth which were said to be of an intimate nature. The players including Fagan and All-American Kasey Cooper, refused to board the bus if Nemeth was on it. In other words, it wasn’t Myers with whom they were displeased, but Nemeth. So, at some point, there was no “us versus them” stance.

That’s important considering that Haley Fagan reported that Corey Myers had already been forced to resign (temporarily) in 2016 due to similar problems, yet players were still “going to bat” for him before the trip to Georgia in 2017.  

The article also tries to relate Myers’ resignation with Fagan’s outburst with Florida’s coach, Tim Walton. Yet the bad relationship between Fagan and Walton was well known and had virtually nothing to do with Myers’ resignation other than timing. They appeared to use that incident in their story because it fits the narrative. 

Former player Whitney Jordan’s quote within the article is completely out of context as she quit the team due to academic reasons. She was very vocal about her displeasure with the coaching staff, who told her that she could either miss a class she needed or quit the team. The senior chose the latter though it was well known that she likely wouldn’t be on the team after she hit .118 in 2017 and was 4th on the team with errors despite not being a starter. After being replaced by Haley Fagan at shortstop, she was overtaken by freshman Alyssa Rivera in right field. Rivera hit a team high .371. Even with Fagan’s graduation and a spot open at shortstop, Jordan had incoming freshman and top recruit Taylon Snow to contend with. 

Bass and Nemeth were cut from the team and Spain is not currently on the roster after a decrease in playing time from 2016 to 2017 as she struggled to an .071 mark at the plate. In other words, none of the players in question are on the roster and most of them were cut. 

The most important part of this all is the word “cover-up.” ESPN and AL.com have alluded to a cover-up by the administration, though they have been hesitant to use that word, yet that’s exactly what they want to say. There are some questionable things to consider, for example, Jay Jacob’s contract extension for Clint Myers, which would have kept him in Auburn until 2023. News sources have tried to use the contract extension to discredit the University’s stance that the situation was well known and understood. 

The truth is, Corey Myers likely had a problem and Clint Myers likely knew it. Both were unofficially fired. There are some former players from Auburn who may or may not have legitimate gripes against the coaches and it’s possible they had a bone to pick with the coaching staff. ESPN and other news agencies clumsily mixed these together to paint Auburn’s rising softball program in a very negative way, especially hinting at a cover-up, which could cost several more jobs, up to and including Athletic Director Jay Jacobs. 

The post Auburn Softball Program Under Fire appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.



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