Photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP

A Title IX complaint and a subsequent letter from a former player describe Auburn’s softball program under recently retired head coach Clint Myers as one where players were subjected to a pattern of inappropriate, sexualized attention by the coach’s son, according to an ESPNW report.

Myers retired Wednesday, making no mention of the complaint and ongoing investigation, but now it appears that a Title IX sexual discrimination complaint was formally filed against the school earlier this summer, alleging that Corey Myers, the head coach’s son and an assistant coach with the team, had “relations and [pursued] relations with multiple members of the team,” and that, when confronted by his players, Clint Myers and another school official threatened the players who spoke out:

Greenberg’s letter alleges that on March 30, 2017, “several players approached Head Coach Myers with proof in the form of text messages from a student-athlete’s cell phone that Coach Corey was having an inappropriate relationship with one of the student-athletes.”

According to the letter and several players, the team was then “quarantined” for several hours prior to a trip to Georgia. Five players told ESPN that, at that meeting, Auburn executive associate athletic director 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.

The Title IX complaint was reportedly filed on May 31 by Alexa Nemeth, a player on Auburn’s softball team last season, four days after the end of Auburn’s softball season. It appears that Corey Myers, in particular, made players on the teem deeply uncomfortable: in addition to the “inappropriate relationship” depicted in text messages, he apparently subjected players on the team to overt commentary on their looks—in one case rating a player’s looks in a team photo via text message—and was part of an environment where players’ looks were “how it was determined if you were liked or not.” Corey Myers’s inappropriate behavior allegedly crossed over to the physical:

Fagan said she had been troubled by Corey Myers’ behavior since her first year on the team, when, after a ground ball fielding drill, “he smacked me on the butt. I looked at him and he said, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Don’t do that.’”

The behavior was apparently consistent enough that several players on the team reportedly filed complaints with the school in 2016, leading to a “tearful” team meeting and Corey Myers’s resignation. Myers reportedly returned to the program two weeks later after head coach Clint Myers and another member of the coaching staff encouraged players to articulate support, to the athletic department, for his reinstatement.

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Martin Greenberg, an attorney representing Alexa Nemeth, sent a follow-up letter detailing the contents of the complaint to Auburn officials and Alabama governor Kay Ivey, reportedly just days before Clint Myers’s abrupt retirement. The letter accuses coaches of “allowing Auburn’s Intimate Relations Policy to be violated,” and describes “concerns about administrative cover-up.” Auburn’s Intimate Relations Policy, found in the Auburn University Employment Policy guide, would seem to prohibit exactly the sort of relationship the players describe:

Auburn University prohibits all faculty, administrators and supervisors, including graduate teaching assistants, from pursuing or engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with students, both graduate and undergraduate, whom they are currently supervising or teaching, as well as with employees whom they are currently supervising. Violations should be promptly reported to the University’s Affirmative Action Office. Violations of this policy will be addressed through appropriate disciplinary action.

The school reportedly confirmed to Greenberg that an internal investigation into the program is ongoing.