It had been a while. Since the Mizzou Softball controversy of 2016 had died down, things had been pretty quiet on the Mizzou coaching front. New pieces at football, basketball, and baseball were doing their thing, and Mizzou’s Learfield Cup standing has never been higher.
There was evidently something pretty big brewing beneath the surface, however.
Definitely read KOMU’s Target 8 report on Mizzou Gymnastics and head coach Shannon Welker. We’ll see how Welker and the athletic department respond — all we saw last night was a prepared statement that did very little to address the situation — but, well, there’s a lot to respond to. It’s pretty damning. A taste:
Several athletes said once they were injured, Welker would either force them to compete or cast them aside. For former Missouri gymnast Jordyn Doherty she dealt with both situations as a Missouri gymnast from 2014-2015.
Doherty landed awkwardly at a scrimmage and tore ligaments in her foot. She said, even though her foot was black and blue and in a boot for a month, Welker didn’t relent.
“I was trying to get across to Shannon that ‘I can barely walk. Like I really need you to work with me here,’” Doherty said. [...]
Doherty didn’t compete in the 2014-2015 season because of her foot injury. She had made it to the end of year banquet, and she said the coaching staff spoke highly of her return.
“At the banquet in front of my friends, my family, my teammates, staff, [Coach Welker] said, ‘We’re so excited to have you, Jordyn, back. She’s gonna be a great aspect to the team when her foot is healed,’” Doherty said.
A few days later, Doherty said, she was called into Welker’s office where he told her she was removed from the team.
“There was no reason behind it. He said ‘I don’t have words. I don’t know what you want me to say,’” Doherty said.
“All of our coaches, including Coach Welker, have tried to create a culture of accountability within their respective programs in order to achieve at the highest levels possible, academically, athletically and socially. One of our goals as an athletic department is to provide the best experience for our more than 500 student-athletes and we annually use a variety of both scheduled and informal opportunities to gather feedback from them in order to make our programs better.”
We’ll see what happens from here, but at first glance that appears to be a very well put-together, damning report.
- An awkward change of gears now: Hey, Jim Sterk’s pretty bullish about how things are going!
- I guess Michael Porter Jr. has picked out his number, huh?
- Steve Bieser’s going all-in on upside in this weekend’s baseball series against South Carolina: ace reliever TJ Sikkema will receive his first career start on Friday, followed by Tanner Houck on Saturday and Bryce Montes de Oca on Sunday. We’ll see if the semi-desperate, semi-awesome move pays off. It’s probably time to start grooming Houck’s heir apparent anyway, and it’s definitely time to bring the good times back.
- It’s likely that Mizzou Softball makes the NCAA Tournament despite just a 29-26 record. Hard to look past those nine top-25 wins
- The SEC Championships got off to a pretty good start for Mizzou — Jamie Kempfer won the women’s 10,000m, while Reinhard Van Zyl finished second in the men’s javelin, and three advanced to the finals of their event.
- Scout’s Houston Texans site did a quick profile of Rickey Hatley.
- OU’s unhappy and restless in the Big 12? The Sooners should just join the SEC. And the Big Ten. And the Pac-12. And the ACC.