San Jose State’s Division I athletes delivered a signed letter to President Mary Papazian today in response to the Spartan Daily’s reporting that the athletic department allegedly paid coaches and staff with $6.3 million of athletes’ scholarship money. The letter, signed by 44 athletes, documents their experiences of injustice, unfair treatment, alleged abuse and mishandled Title IX complaints, improper treatment by team doctors, “threats” from Athletics Director Marie Tuite and reactions to misused athletic scholarship money.
They have asked that the Spartan Daily not release the letter until President Papazian is back on campus to look at the letter on Wednesday.
Some athletes have come forward and spoken about their experiences with the Spartan Daily on top of the letter. Many athletes said they wanted to use their name, but fear it will hurt their careers at SJSU.
Women’s track and field: Sarahvaughn King
“[Tuite] was saying that she originally wanted a whole different sport. That didn’t necessarily feel the best to hear that."
“[We need] equal treatment in terms of getting like rehab or treatment. Sometimes we have to wait because [trainers and doctors] will be busy with football and we will have to wait for them to be done.
The team was out fundraising on our own. We were just wondering what can we do on our part at least to make sure that we can try and bring in some funding but we were told it’s not on us to do that. But I mean it’s not being done so we just wanted to know what can we do that is within our power?
Sometimes when we bring up our frustrations it feels like we aren’t fully being heard. I think they are just expecting us to be OK with the bare minimum that we have and that they think we are ungrateful.
After a lot of years of asking we finally got track and field poster made for us and that was one small victory of trying to get just the little things to make us feel a little better here and supported on campus."
Women’s Softball athlete:
1.) “It’s really disappointing to see a story like this come out about an organization that I have put so much effort into.
I love it here but I can’t help but feel like this is something that will continue to happen around us as athletes if we don’t stand up and talk about it.
We put our bodies and minds on the line every single day to compete for this university and to maintain our grades –- clearly the high ups in athletics have not given us the same effort in return.
It’s sad to see a lot of my teammates who have struggled to pay their tuition or the cost of living here and to find out that there was money that was supposed to be allocated to them and they have missed out. It’s sickening.
The athletics department needs to do some serious internal evaluation. Where there’s smoke there is fire and I’m sure a lot of people were involved in this major mistake.
I just hope it wasn’t done purposefully, I hope there is an explanation.
I feel sorry for the track athletes. At least I had a field to play on for some part of my time here at SJSU. They have been dealt an awful hand and deserve so much more.”
Women’s Swimming and Diving athlete:
1.) “I’m so up to my ears and I can’t handle it anymore. I’m just fuming."
“None of us knew. They did an excellent job at keeping us in the dark with everyone else’s injustices.”
Women’s gymnastics athlete:
1.) “I had good grades. I helped the team GPA. I wasn’t disrespectful at all. I don't know what I did wrong.
[My coach] told me I got kicked off because she doesn’t think I can make it through summer without getting injured.
[After coach Wayne Wright left] Marie said, ‘we will try to find a coach that is right for you.’ The way she worded it in the email was like ‘what the heck,’ like, our coach just got fired for abuse. It was such a slap in the face.
There was a group of female athletes who went up and said ‘We don't like Marie, we don't like what’s happening here we want to change it.’ So they held this meeting.
I got one of my professors to find out if Marie and Elileen were going to be in the meeting and apparently they were so she asked them not to be so the athletes could feel comfortable so then they got them kinda kicked out. . . so we could all say stuff.
You [are] thinking the percentage of athletes affected by medical stuff shouldn’t be that high, it’s every single person that was in there. The medical staff here is so bad, it’s scary.
All they do is prescribe you three Ibuprofen three times a day for three days and think everything that’s wrong with you will go away. They don't believe you.
I am surprised there is not lawsuits against like basically every single one of the medical team doctors that see us female athletes here. Like there is one in particular that everyone thinks is drunk. . . but he has messed up so many of my alums and teammates. . . I wouldn’t let him touch me.
[Tuite] is fake. She is very fake. I think I got very mad when I found out about the whole covering up rape at University of Washington. I actually know a girl last year who was raped and nothing happened at this school.
If all the other athletes are super upset with the athletic director then something is happening. There is something not right. All these scandals going on. . . Like the fact that all these scandals are going on and baseball is on probation, that means that there is supposed to be a tighter grip on all the other teams at this school for five years.
I got threatened kinda at the beginning of the year by [coach Joanne Bowers]. She said ‘Yeah, you got Wayne fired last year but don't you dare think you can get me fired, I am best friends with Marie.’ She announced it to my whole team.
I always thought ‘Every school has their politics, every school goes through this’, but no. The grass is greener for everyone that transfers out of here. I have talked to basketball, gymnasts, track. . . everybody transfers out of here. It’s like why is everybody transferring out of here? Somebody needs to figure out what’s wrong with this school. Well, we already figured it out, somebody make it public. . . it needs to stop.”
Women track and field athletes
These quotes come from 2018 student athlete evaluation forms. The forms were filled out by athletes each year and were read aloud in a meeting with athletes, coaches and the athletic director. However, multiple athletes and coaches told the Spartan Daily that Tuite discontinued the student athlete evaluation forms this year.
1.) “It’s literally everything wrong. We’re treated worse than my high school program.
Marie, a female head in athletics, should start supporting female sports instead of cowering under our losing sports.
Our girls are dominating in sports. Marie didn’t come out to even one event. Cut the program now if you don’t care, at least then we have a chance to transfer.
Nothing at all has changed and I am ashamed to be under an administration that does not care for its student athletes.
Eileen [Daley, the associate athletic director for academics and student services] we love you! You’re the one that cares about us! I bet Marie just discards this [form] into the 'don’t care’ pile.
Marie Tuite needs to show more compassion for us, when she mentioned she could cut off our program if she wanted to. That was very unnecessary and rude!”
2.) “We need shoes, we wear out a lot. One for cross country, one for indoor, one for outdoor. This way to prevent injuries!
How can we get funding for the track, what can we do?
We are one thing from being away from being cut and that we aren’t supposed to be here? How do you expect us to compete, and compete?”
3.) “We don’t get fed like football or volleyball does. I heard that it’s a rule that we have to be given at least a meal a day. We are running 80 miles a week, we deserve to be fed.
The amount of disrespect our team has been shown is unacceptable. [Tuite] said that our team would be the first she would cut and that is not okay.”
4.) “Our [athletic director] told us we are at the bottom of the pyramid. She told us we were so close to getting cut. I feel that’s wrong because track and field is actually doing pretty good, better than most sports that are at the ‘top of the pyramid.’
The way this school functions is awful, we are in the Silicon Valley and manage to have no money to help the winning sports.
We have no athletic trainers when it’s a year round sport. I’m going to NCAA [championships] still injured from an injury in December. I asked to go to chiropractors/doctors and had to pay out of pocket to help me feel better. This is CRAZY!”
5.) “My coaches were amazing and helped me succeed and grow to get better.
One of the days at practice [there] was literally a car doing donuts on the track which we had to chase away.
Ms. Tuite was rude about saying how she doesn’t care and it’s our fault for not having money for a track. That doesn’t help me, aren’t you getting lots of cash to help?
Also, my coaches work hard for what they are given so I am thankful.”
6.) “[Tuite] has made it clear that we are not welcomed here. She also barely knows [us] and we definitely feel a disconnect.
After hearing the cruel and harsh things she had to say about us it is hard to like her.
How can we fund a boys’ team? We can barely afford a girls’ team!
It is heartbreaking having to support people who don’t support you. We have so much talent that goes unrecognized.
Why is our masseuse around and helping us more than our trainers!”
7.) “It is an honor to be able to run Division I track & field, but the treatment we receive is terrible.
Almost every team has a poster with home and away dates. The only reason we have any posters, the cross country coach made himself. Then, when we do eventually get representation they are super old pictures, incorrect names or incorrect locations.
Football players always have priority but we train as long as they do (no respect). We were told that we got Javier [Alcantar, a graduate assistant athletic trainer] specifically for track. That was a lie, he was brought in for football and track was pushed to the side.
Be fair and stop feeding us dreams you refuse to make happen!”
8.) “I have no problems with my coaches, advisors or Eileen. The problem is with our [athletic director], Marie. She doesn’t care about our program, it’s so obvious.
Why do we need more parking when no one goes to the football games?
I also have a problem that she was worried more about vomit than glass [on the practice facility]. How does that make sense?
When she told us she wanted to ax our team she might as well said F U.
Switch over to Adidas and get less gear then we had Nike.
Y’all make it hard for us to recruit when we have NOTHING!
I have a great head coach, assistant coach, Eileen, Jeanine [Haldi, the academic advisor], Jen [Jurgensen, the academic support coordinator], Matheo [Hurtado, the academic eligibility coordinator] have been very helpful to me. I appreciate every single one of them.
Marie, I don’t care for her. I actually have no respect for her at all and I really hope she doesn’t actually think she’s doing a good job here at this school.
We hardly get promoted on SJSU media. We never get pictures taken of us, no sports poster, no snacks like other sports.
I didn’t receive the [Division I] experience I was promised!
I’m glad I don’t have to lie to get people to try and come here because I never liked doing that but it was necessary in order to get certain people here.
Marie is the source to every problem. No one else.”