Today, ESPN reported that a former Auburn softball player accused former Auburn softball coach Clint Myers and other Auburn University Athletics Department officials of covering up a pattern of sexual harassment and deviancy committed by former Auburn assistant, Corey Myers. Auburn is no stranger to negative media attention, but this feels different.
Unlike the Cam Newton saga, coaches have already resigned. Unlike the sociology scandal, the allegations don’t concern a marginally shady, but common, practice that benefited athletes and non-athletes alike. Unlike Sunny Golloway, the trouble isn’t limited to one individual.
This is different. You know it’s different. This is not the time to circle the wagons and defend Auburn’s administration against the outsiders like we did in 2010 and 2011. It’s time to take a breath, let the evidence come in, and defend Auburn’s name and reputation by demanding that all responsible be punished.
Here’s what we know:
- Jay Jacobs hired Auburn softball coach Clint Myers in 2014.
- Myers hired two of his sons, Corey and Casey to serve as assistant coaches.
- Auburn was incredibly successful under Myers. We made the Womens’ College World Series in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Auburn was upset in a Super Regional by eventual champ, Oklahoma.
- On March 30, 2017, Corey Myers resigned suddenly. Clint Myers stated publicly that Corey’s resignation was just due to Corey’s desire to spend more time with family.
- On April 6, 2017, AL.com asked Clint Meyers if Corey had been involved in a Title IX investigation. Coach Myers responded "I'm not sure why you're asking that, so I have no comment."
- On April 27, Jay Jacobs denied that Corey Myers had ever been the subject of an ethics investigation.
- On July 7, 2017, Auburn signed Clint Myers to a three-year extension through 2023.
- On August 24, 2017, Clint Myers suddenly resigned.
Here’s what has been reported:
- Clint Myers allowed Corey to have sexual relationships with members of the team and pursue sexual relationships with other members of the team.
- Haley Fagan claims that Corey Myers slapped her on the butt her first year on the team, 2014.
- Corey Myers sent another player suggestive texts in 2015.
- A group of Auburn softball players filed an ethics complaint against Corey in September 2016. That investigation ultimately led to Corey’s resignation in September 2016.
- Clint Myers instructed members of the team to “fight for Corey” to get him reinstated.
- Before the April 2017, series with Georgia, the Auburn team had a long meeting with several people including Women’s Athletic Director Meredith Jenkins. The team showed Jenkins a series of text messages exchanged between Corey Myers and a teammate. Jenkins told the team that they had broken the law by accessing the texts and ordered them to delete the texts.
- The Auburn team refused to get on the bus with the player who exchanged inappropriate texts with Corey Myers.
- On May 31—six weeks before Myers was signed to a three-year extension—Alexa Nemeth filed a Title IX suit against Clint Myers. On June 20, 2017, an attorney representing Nemeth wrote a letter to Kay Ivey, Auburn President Steven Leath, and Jay Jacobs, detailing the claims. An internal investigation is ongoing.
So, if this all turns out to be true, Auburn had a serial sexual harasser on staff. Auburn knew about this at the highest levels of the athletics department by no later than September 2016. Clint Myers and Meredith Jenkins actively tried to suppress the scandal. Jay Jacobs and Clint Myers lied about the scandal to the media. Despite all this, Jacobs and Jenkins extended Clint Myers’s contract in July.
The Auburn Creed says:
If Auburn’s athletics administration was not honest or truthful, they have forfeited the right to our respect and confidence. The administration may have violated the law in a manner that violated our student athletes’ rights. The human touch does not refer to what Corey Myers allegedly did to Fagan. The administrators showed no sympathy to their athletes, instead, bullying them into covering up for Corey Myers and encouraging the players to destroy evidence.
An internal investigation proved impotent. Auburn should hire an external investigator to determine what Jay Jacobs, Meredith Jenkins, and others in the administration knew and when they knew it. If the allegations being reported are true, all involved have forfeited their right to be called Auburn men and women. They should all be fired for cause and denied any severance. As Jay Jacobs once said, “you ain’t getting a dime, brother,” if these allegations are true.
But in the meantime, Auburn fans need to do four things: (1) demand that the University take these allegations seriously; (2) do not engage in blind denial and cheerleading merely because Auburn has been wrongly accused in the past; (3) wait to let the facts develop; and (4) demand that Auburn hold all involved responsible for wrongdoing.