RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University announced today the results of the investigative review into the EKU softball program. The decision was made to retain Jane Worthington as EKU’s head softball coach.
The investigation, which began immediately after allegations were made in a July 4th Twitter post by a former softball student-athlete, featured interviews with over 30 current and former players, staff members, and administrators, as well as a review of records. The investigation found no EKU policy violations, criminal conduct by EKU coaches, or previous filings of formal complaints. In addition, no NCAA concerns were identified.
“As a former student-athlete, there is nothing more important to me than the experience of our student-athletes,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Matt Roan. “At Eastern Kentucky University, we take all allegations involving our athletics department seriously. We have fully cooperated throughout the investigative process with EKU Human Resources and appreciate the thoroughness of the review. The daily objective of EKU Athletics is to continually improve in every aspect of intercollegiate athletics. We will, in addition to implementing planned program and department improvements, follow the recommendations resulting from the review. I want to express my appreciation for all those who came forward and participated in the investigation.”
Over the course of the past few years, the NCAA’s member institutions, including EKU, have been increasingly focused on the topic of mental health. Understanding the importance of having resources for student-athletes, on June 14th the EKU Board of Regents approved an Athletics budget that includes the following:
· A full-time sport psychologist;
· A full-time director of softball operations; and
· Increased Sports Medicine and Sports Performance personnel and resources, including a dietitian.
While the investigation found no violations, evidence was found to indicate needed improvement of communication, including but not limited to team expectations, communication of available nutritional and mental health resources, and use of effective motivational tactics.
EKU Athletics will be adopting the following recommendations:
· Educate coaching staffs on better ways to communicate with student-athletes
· Emphasize with student-athletes the proper channels to address concerns and bring forth grievances
· Clearly communicate the aspects of nutrition as a Division I student-athlete, as well as the use of performance analytical data in ensuring peak performance and student-athlete safety
· Provide leadership development for student-athletes and coaches
· Ensure all athletic strength and conditioning activities are reviewed by Sports Performance staff
The mental health of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is of paramount importance. EKU has resources available and encourage all student-athletes, both current and former, and staff to utilize the resources below:
VP and Athletic Director Matt Roan will be available for interviews on July 21, 2022, from 1:45pm-2:45pm (ET).