The Norman Transcript had an interesting story up today about alleged bullying in the Oklahoma Sooners’ athletic program. According to the paper, in this case it is a lower profile sport’s team as female golfer Jade Staggs has accused coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell of two years worth of bullying.
There have been a ton of stories about football and basketball players around the country being bullied. It was enough in college football to get former Oklahoma Sooners’ assistant coaches Mike Leach and Mark Mangino fired from their head coaching jobs at Texas Tech and Kansas.
While golf is nowhere near as prolific as college football, the allegations are still something that the school has to take seriously. Staggs said that the bullying by her coach forced her off the women’s golf team. When the Transcript contacted the school, they simply said they can’t comment based on student confidentiality.
Staggs is from Moore, Oklahoma, just 15 minutes north of Norman. She went to Oklahoma State University as a freshman but left and came to OU, walking on for the women’s golf team as a sophomore. In her first year at OU, she finished tied for last on the Sooners’ squad with a 78.67 average. However, in her second season she improved to 74.67, fourth best on the team.
Despite this, Staggs alleges that Coach Drouin removed her from the roster and said she would not play for the rest of the season because she did not respect her as a coach. She also said the coach told her not to expect to play as a senior either.
Staggs also said a meeting was set up between Staggs and her family, Assistant AD Larry Naifeh and Coach Drouin. She said Drouin did not show up and Naifeh said it was best for Staggs to just quit the team. She said he presented her with a release that said OU would continue to pay for her school but she could not make any disparaging statements about Coach Drouin or the golf program.
While this is a case of which person you might believe, a taped conversation between Coach Drouin cursing out a member of the men’s golf team became public after he defended Staggs. Staggs mentions that Drouin was talking about her leaving the team in the recording, basically breaking any silence agreement.
When Staggs once again refused to sign the agreement to keep silent, Naifeh said she needed to sign an agreement that said she refused their financial aid assistance. However, this agreement also had a stipulation that she could not tell her story, so she refused to sign it and that is when they mentioned the audio recording they have of Coach Drouin. After this, she took her story to the Norman Transcript.
Staggs said her father is considering taking the matter to the NCAA.
Whether or not the bullying of Coach Drouin caused Jade Staggs to get kicked off the team is unknown. All that is known is Staggs’ side of the story, as both Coach Drouin and Mr. Naifeh refused comment to the paper. However, if there was a case of bullying involved, and from the sounds of the audio recording, there is a definite suspicion in the matter, something will have to be done. Bullying in schools cannot be tolerated, especially by authority figures.
Hopefully, OU will do something about this before the NCAA gets involved.
Source: Norman Transcript