Student-athletes accuse Ohio Dominican volleyball coach of abusive behavior


YOU EXPECT A COACH TO PUSH THEIR ATHLETES- BUT HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? A GROUP OF FORMER OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS SAY THEIR COACH PUSHED THEIR LIMITS TO THE EXTREME OF ABUSE. THANKS FOR STAYING WITH US AT SIX… I’M COLLEEN MARSHALL. MIKE: AND I’M MIKE JACKSON. THE UNIVERSITY SAYS AN INVESTIGATION FOUND NO EVIDENCE TO SUBSTANTIATE THEIR CLAIMS. NBC4’S KATIE FERRELL IS HERE WITH DETAILS. KATIE: 10 CURRENT AND FORMER OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS ACCUSE HEAD COACH JENNIFER FEKPE OF ABUSE, HARASSMENT, RETALIATION, AND OF DOLING OUT EXCESSIVE PUNISHMENTS AND BELITTLING CRITICISM. TONIGHT, FEKPE IS STILL EMPLOYED. THE UNIVERSITY SAYS THE COACH DID NOTHING ILLEGAL AND NO CHANGES WILL BE MADE TO THE PROGRAM. BEING A STUDENT ATHLETE ON THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL CAN BE GRUELING. FORMER OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY VOLLEYBALL PLAYER LEAH HOWSER SAYS IT SHOULDN’T BE TERRIFYING. LEAH HOWSER; FORMER ODU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER 16:23:56 “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO LOSE AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO GAIN BECAUSE I’VE GOTTEN OUT I DON’T PLAN ON PLAYING COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL ANYMORE.” 24:05 IN OCTOBER 10 FORMER PLAYERS INCLUDING HOWSER, SUBMITTED THIS 45 PAGE LEGAL DOCUMENT OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS ACCUSING HEAD COACH JENNIFER FEKPE OF ALLEGED MENTAL, PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND NCAA VIOLATIONS. LEAH HOWSER; FORMER ODU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER 16:11:52 “SHE DOESN’T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE WELL- BEING OF HER PLAYERS.”/ 16:15:08 “DEFINITELY MANIPULATIVE SHE’S KIND OF LIKE CONNIVING IN A WAY.”/23:31 “I’VE NEVER HEARD OF A COACH TELLING YOU WHO YOU CAN BE FRIENDS WITH, WHO YOU CAN’T BE FRIENDS WITH.” :35 IN ONE PARTICULAR INSTANCE HOWSER SAYS THE HEAD COACH FORCED HER TO DO A GRUELING RUNNING DRILL AS PUNISHMENT DESPITE HAVING MULTIPLE STRESS FRACTURES IN HER BACK. LEAH HOWSER; FORMER ODU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER 16:12:18 “I WAS LIKE WELL WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? I HAVE DOCTORS ORDERS TO NOT PARTICIPATE AND SHE WAS LIKE WELL I GUESS YOU’RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO SPEEDWALK THEM.” :26 JUST A FEW MONTHS INTO HER FRESHMAN YEAR, HOWSER QUIT THE TEAM AND LEFT SCHOOL. THE UNIVERSITY DECLINED TO GO ON CAMERA. I RECEIVED THIS STATEMENT THAT READS IN PART, “THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF OUR STUDENTS IS OUR TOP PRIORITY.” AND, THAT “AFTER LOOKING INTO THE CONCERNS VOICED BY THIS GROUP OF STUDENT-ATHLETES, WE WERE NOT ABLE TO SUBSTANTIATE THE ALLEGATIONS MADE OF ILLEGAL CONDUCT.” IT WENT ON TO SAY, “WE WILL TAKE THE CONCERNS THEY’VE BRAVELY SHARED INTO ACCOUNT.” LEAH HOWSER; FORMER ODU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER 16:21:53 “IT MIGHT NOT BE ILLEGAL BUT IT’S DEFINITELY NOT A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR THESE YOUNG GIRLS.” 16:21:56 HOWSER SAYS SHE DOESN’T WANT ANOTHER STUDENT ATHLETE TO SUFFER. LEAH HOWSER; FORMER ODU VOLLEYBALL PLAYER 16:24:11 “I DON’T WANT THESE GIRLS TO BE PUT THROUGH WHAT WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH.” KATIE: ACCORDING TO THE UNIVERSITY, FEKPE HAS BEEN HEAD COACH FOR THREE YEARS AND WITH THE TEAM FOR SIX. I’VE REACHED OUT TO THE COACH FOR COMMENT.

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