Drexel has placed the head coach of the university’s softball team and his two assistant coaches on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation into what the school termed “troubling allegations of misconduct” in the treatment of players.
A letter by Drexel athletic director Eric Zillmer last week addressed to parents and families of softball players stated that once Drexel and its athletic department had become “aware of the gravity of these allegations, we immediately began to take action to address the situation and provide support to our student-athletes.”
The allegations are unspecified. The school said Tuesday in a statement, “The school was recently made aware of allegations of mistreatment by members of the coaching staff that impacted the experience of student-athletes on its softball team. … The University seeks to foster a safe and healthy environment based on trust and respect and takes allegations of mistreatment of students and student-athletes very seriously. The University does not tolerate misconduct in any form that contradicts these values or violates University policy, and individuals found responsible for alleged misconduct will be subject to appropriate sanction.”
The school said Drexel head softball coach Carl Taylor and assistants Michelle Schlichtig-Hastings and Ray Hastings, who are married, have been placed on leave. Taylor just completed his seventh season in charge. The Dragons concluded a spring season that saw them go 29-12 overall and 13-5 in the regular season of the Colonial Athletic Association. Taylor could not be reached for comment.
The letter sent by Zillmer said the coaches were not to have any contact with “any student-athletes, recruits, families of student-athletes, or Athletics Department staff” during the investigation.
The letter noted resources available to the softball players through the office of counseling and health services, the office of spiritual and religious life, and the office of equality and diversity.
“I would like to close by emphasizing again our resolve in investigating and addressing any allegations of misconduct that are brought to our attention, and our ongoing commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our student-athletes,” Zillmer said in the letter. “Drexel continues to strive to foster an environment of safety, respect, and inclusivity for all of our students and student-athletes. Conduct that contradicts our values is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”