Today brings news of two developments featuring coaches of women’s sports teams. The first comes from California. USA Today reports that the former coach of the Fresno State women’s basketball team has won a jury verdict of more than $19 million. She claims that she was fired for promoting women’s issues. The university, her former employer takes a different view, claiming inappropriate conduct on the job and obtaining a prescription pain-killer from one of her players.
Local reports from the Newark Star-Ledger bring news of the criminal conviction of a former Immaculata High School girls basketball coach as a result of having what apparently was a "consensual" sexual relationship with a player. Patricia Balogh was convicted on four of five counts, although she avoided the most serious, which charged aggravated first degree sexual assault. A conviction on that charge could have landed her in prison for 40 years. As it is, she’s looking at 10. There’s no word whether the victim’s family plans to pursue an action for civil relief against the coach or the school.
Educational employers must be vigilant. Inappropriate relationships between players and coaches are not common, but neither are they rare. When they occur they have the potential to cause significant liabilities and, just as important, reputational damage.