THE BACKLASH CONTINUES FOR IU EAST VOLLEYBALL
October 28, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
The backlash continues about current IU East Volleyball Coach Adam Stevenson. We told you in our previous story about the players who quit or were given their unconditional release from the program including Lindsay Kurz, Cinder Weber and Meagan Stoker. We have since talked with former and current players about the situation.
Caitlyn Burroughs played for the Red Wolves last season before deciding not to return for the current season. I asked her why she didn’t play and she told me she was “uncomfortable with the situation and Coach Stevenson.” “He (Coach Stevenson) made the freshmen very uncomfortable with how he talked to them and what he said to them and I wasn’t ok with that.” Burroughs also said “I wasn’t going to hug him after every practice because I felt it was kind of creepy. We had a team meeting and decided we weren’t going to follow his rule.”
Burroughs says the team filed a sexual harassment complaint against Coach Stevenson with officials at IU East. That complaint was sent to IU-Bloomington and a meeting was held with the IU East Human Resources Director and Athletics Director, Mark Hester. The complaint was eventually dismissed because the report said Coach Stevenson’s actions were not “continuous”. Burroughs also confirmed many of the allegations made by current players.
Burroughs is a roommate of Meagan Stoker and says Meagan has been in tears all season because she no longer loves to play volleyball and it is her senior season. Caitlyn says she feels “Stevenson took volleyball away from me. Volleyball has been my life and I lost my passion to play.”
Stoker was hoping to play her final season at IU East and have a positive experience but that isn’t going to happen with Coach Stevenson at the helm. “We could have had a successful season, but he ruined it for us”, Stoker said. “I saw the red flags at the beginning of the season, but because it was my senior season, I wanted to play”.
Stoker confirmed what other players have told us that Coach Stevenson would pit players against each other by having “private” meetings and then blame players for the team’s issues. Stoker says the team captains wanted to talk with Coach Stevenson about how he was handling some of their concerns only to have him call a team meeting and kick Lindsay Kurz and Cinder Weber off the team and give the rest an ultimatum. That’s when Stoker decided to quit.
Stoker confirmed the allegations made by other players including using his personal camera to take pictures of the players from “behind” and telling them he was using the photos for promotional use. When a player told Coach Stevenson she thought that was “weird”, Stoker says he snapped at her. Stoker also confirmed the rule of “hugging” the coach after every practice. Stoker says “the team held a meeting and told Coach Stevenson they wouldn’t do that”. She believes that’s about the time he started to divide the team.
Another incident that caused concern for Stoker and the other players was Coach Stevenson “grabbing” the players around the hips to position them correctly on the playing floor. Stoker says one time Stevenson grabbed her by the hips as she was getting off the team bus and it had nothing to do with volleyball. Stoker says “several team members saw it as did the team bus driver.”
Another incident involved Morgan Dobbs, who was rehabbing an injury. Stevenson demanded Dobbs do exercises in a swimming pool. Stoker says Dobbs was very uncomfortable with the situation but did it because Stevenson “made” her. Coach Stevenson joined Dobbs in the pool with no trainer or assistant coaches present. Dobbs told her teammates how uncomfortable she because the coach was touching her in the pool.
”I am sad because it has gotten this far,” said Stoker. “We built this program and they (IU East Administration) are pushing us off to the side, like it’s no big deal, like we have nothing to say.”
I didn’t get the chance to speak personally with Mallory Livingston but she did present me with this statement.
STATEMENT FROM MALLORY LIVINGSTON:
“I was a witness and can confirm all statements that Lindsay Kurz made. I was present for several inappropriate or unprofessional situations. In the spring, we had several returners decide to leave due to Coach Stevenson’s inappropriate behavior. We have reported to the administration multiple times, in which our responses so far have been basically to learn to accept the situation, and that no changes will be made.
At the beginning of the season, Lindsay, Meagan, and I were appointed to team captains, and we were given a sheet of captain expectations. It is written as one of our expectations to “speak with the coaching staff about concerns or even ideas to help make improvements.” The day before multiple players were dismissed from the team, Lindsay and I came to the coaching staff, doing our jobs, and discussed the concerns and problems of the team. The following day, we felt retaliated against for speaking our opinions, although those were the instructions we were given, because they did not like what they had to hear. The next day, we had to manage with the loss of three of our teammates, who helped run this team all season, and have been major contributors to all successes we had this year. We would not have won as many of the games we did without the talent and leadership of those returners.
I, myself, was given the option to stay or go for the remainder of the season. I did not have to hesitate; I immediately said that I know I will stay on this team for the rest of the season because of my dedication to our team and these girls. Coach Stevenson’s response was, “I do not want you to stay because you want to play for the girls; I want you to play because you want to buy into my system.”
I have been playing volleyball for several years, and I have devoted a vast majority of my time into this sport because of my passion and love for the game. I know what it is to be on a winning team, I know what it is to work hard and push your limits. Just last year, I was proud to be a part of the IU East volleyball team because I knew how hard we worked for every single game and we deserved every award and all recognition that we received. Then, in such a short amount of time, in just one season, I found myself miserable in the very same sport that I had always loved. Coach Stevenson’s inappropriate behavior and the lack of support from the select administrators who knew of the situation drove the passion out of me and several other teammates as well.
It just amazes me that our team lost seven returners before this season and now all of the four remaining returners were either forced to leave or given an ultimatum. How could it be possible that every single member of the team was wrong and misinterpreted this inappropriate behavior? It is inappropriate to take pictures or videos of us from behind on his personal camera. It is inappropriate to grab a players hips in order to move them to a new position. It’s inappropriate to instruct a player to do swimming exercises in a pool alone with him with no medical instructions to do so, and it is inappropriate to make a comment towards a player saying that she “is always wet,” with the meaning of that statement being implied. There were multiple witnesses to this statement in the training room. All of these incidences and several more had been reported to select administrators.
STATEMENT FROM FORMER PLAYER SARAH SCHILLING WHO LEFT THE PROGRAM AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON:
“Coach Stevenson’s record speaks for itself. I fully support the girls and commend them for having the courage to speak up for what they believe in. It’s a shame such a great program has been destroyed and nothing is being done by IU East”.
RadioTroy still hasn’t received a call from Coach Stevenson despite our attempts to contact him Friday night. The response we received from AD Mark Hester was this: “Playing college sports is a privilege, not a right. They are free to say whatever they (the players) wish. We will not comment any further on this subject. It has been addressed and is over.”
EDITORIAL NOTE: I must disagree with Mr. Hester. Any one of these incidents would seem to warrant further investigation. If one of these girls were my daughter, I would expect it!