The University is launching an investigation into allegations charging that GW’s head softball coach, Shaunte’ Fremin, mentally and physically abused students as well as committed NCAA violations. The charges – which include coercing students to play while injured and lying to trainers and doctors – could not only prove potentially damning for the coach, but also could expose serious flaws in the oversight structure of the GW Athletics Department.
It is perplexing to think that for six months, members of GW’s varsity softball team were treated this poorly without anyone in the Athletics Department being aware of the situation. While players did not come forward themselves – almost all due to a fear of the coach – it should not be incumbent upon them to report the behavior of their coach. GW administrators should take a more active role in ensuring its coaches are treating their players properly.
Regardless of whether or not these charges are ultimately proven true, GW administrators should learn some valuable lessons from this incident. To start, it must set up a process by which coaches – first year ones in particular – are closely monitored on a regular basis to ensure his or her conduct is in line both with NCAA regulations and human decency.
One of the main issues surrounding this controversy is that players felt significantly threatened to the point where they did not feel comfortable raising their concerns to administrators themselves. To potentially alleviate this problem in the future, the Athletics Department should look into creating regular meetings between department officials and team captains. Such meetings would build trusting relationships between athletes and administrators that would ensure such a problem would be met head on in the future.
These accusations represent a serious problem facing all scholar-athletes. In order to make sure the fine line between hard work and abuse is not crossed, the administration must work hard to ensure that it is in a position to intercept issues before they become serious problems.