You'll never guess.
Thursday’s protest letter indicated that the unity council consulted with an attorney on May 4 to represent its interests.
"There is a motto here at MU known as ‘See it, Hear it, Own it.’ " the unity council’s protest stated. "Student-athletes are expected to speak up when they see someone being treated unfairly. We believe the administration should be held to the same standard, and should take action to put an end to Mack Rhoades’s long road of lies and hidden agendas."
On Tuesday, players met with Hickman and continued to express concerns that Rhoades and executive associate AD for compliance Mary Ann Austin were not listening to their statements and only pursuing their own agenda and "personal attack on Earlywine." (Earleywine’s last name is misspelled throughout the unity council’s statement.)
The unity council also released its letter to Rhoades from last month. The letter addresses the complaints filed by players about Earleywine’s coaching style but insists the intent of the complaints was to get the coach fired because the players were upset with their performance this season.
The unity council says it consulted an attorney after a series of university-mandated interviews of softball players in early April. The attorney drafted a May 4 letter to Rhoades that sough clarification of Earleywine’s future with the program.
According to the unity council, the athletic department responded by saying players would be notified at the appropriate time. The softball team moved forward with a public protest before a May 7 game.
"Publicly exposing Mack Rhoades’s attack … on Coach Earlywine and our program was our last resort, but it has become clear to us that it is one-hundred percent necessary," the unity council’s statement read.
Here's part 1 of the letter, hopefully easier to read than last version I sent out. pic.twitter.com/1mOF32QqaM— Tony Mullen (@TonyKRCG13) May 12, 2016
And here's part 2. pic.twitter.com/HfkgPjiTKD— Tony Mullen (@TonyKRCG13) May 12, 2016
So. One of the things I always tried to remind myself of last November during the CS1950 protests was that these were college students doing the speaking and the writing. As a six-year veteran of being a college student, I can recall that my passions were often not quite aimed correctly. So I tried to be sympathetic with CS1950 concerns while realizing that demands like "Tim Wolfe must admit his white privilege" were of no benefit to anybody.
I'm taking the same approach now. Within what I feel are some misguided thoughts and incorrectly-aimed passions are some truly heartfelt concerns for a coach that most of these players clearly really like.
If you read the timeline of events above (embedded in the Austin Kim tweet), you find a few items I want to comment on.
"April 5, 2016: Each player is individually interrogated by 3 people from the University"
"April 7, 2016: The softball player's Unity Council sent a letter to Mack Rhoades expressing the player's concerns after being interrogated by the Athletic Department"
All well and good. I don't know what the rules on a misconduct/abuse investigation are, but there's a chance the reasons for the investigation weren't very well-communicated, and there's a chance that was a bug (and a sign of a bad investigation), not a feature.
"April 12, 2016: Mack Rhoades met with the Unity Council to epress his disapproval of the letter. In this meeting, Mr. Rhoades said he would be able to deliver the results of the investigation in approximately one week. On May 9, he claimed that the investigation is still ongoing. The last interrogation took place over three weeks ago, so we know this is not true."
Investigations. Take. Forever. If Rhoades really did say it would take a week, that was foolish. There was no way it was happening in a week.
"Mr. Rhoades told us during the meeting that everyone's opinion mattered. However, he stated in the meeting with the Unity Council that the student-athletes have 'no say.'"
Because they indeed have no say in a misconduct investigation. Of course they don't.
They go on to detail what sounded like a truly strange suspension and un-suspension of the pitching coach because of an allegation of misconduct. They also accuse Mary Austin of Compliance of having an agenda, which ... sure. Maybe. Or maybe she was trying to seriously conduct an investigation of misconduct and was trying to make sure players weren't covering for their coach. I wasn't there, but I suspect there was at least a layer of that.
Ugh. I'll just stop there for now. I won't express my own opinions on the dreadful (whoops, that's an opinion) Free Coach E website that, among other things, accuses "Hostile Feminists" of trying to destroy the softball program. There's misplaced passion, and there's ridiculousness, and I'm trying to focus on the former. Regardless, I wish we could just skip to the part where Rhoades announces the findings of the investigation. If there were indeed serious complaints about Coach Earleywine, then an investigation was totally warranted, and I hope that it has been carried out appropriately.