Sports Illustrated recently published a powerful piece detailing two decades of abuse at the University of San Francisco Dons Men’s Soccer program, where it is alleged that administrators fostered a rampant culture of sexual misconduct on the team that spanned three coaches, four athletic directors, and two school presidents.
USF’s elite men’s soccer program has won five NCAA titles and, since the mid-nineties, has sent 14 players to the Major League. Many feel these and other achievements over the years have given players celebrity-like status on campus. And it is this status that current and former students posting online are now saying players consistently abused.
The recent outcry began in the summer of 2020, when a USF alumnus made a satirical post on Instagram taking aim at the rumored toxic and predatory culture in the USF men’s soccer program. The post blew up, leading to a veritable flood of messages and comments from past and present students sharing their own stories of horrific interactions with soccer team members and publicly demanding justice.
In response, USF commissioned a 50-page report, released in January 2021, chronicling in stomach-churning detail various allegations against USF soccer players over the last decade. The report identified eleven soccer players accused of engaging in sexual misconduct during that time. Sports Illustrated’s piece reveals that the problems go deeper than what is contained in the report. The publication communicated with an additional five women, who did not speak to the school’s hired investigators, but shared personal accounts from that time period of sexual abuse or harassment by men’s soccer players.
SI spoke with multiple women who accused team members of rape, and to an alumna who said that in 2003 she notified school administrators of concerns that men’s soccer players were filming women without their consent in intimate settings with their teammates. Over the years, SI notes, “there were several more instances where administrators were made aware of team members’ behavior. And yet, it continued.”
Read the full article on the Sport Illustrated website (readers may find the details disturbing).
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