Adrian Boteanu / Sun File Photo

Two players were kicked off the Cornell softball team on Tuesday, according to multiple sources.

May 10, 2019

Two Cornell Softball Players Dismissed From Team Day After 2019 Season Ends

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Two players were dismissed from the Cornell softball team on Tuesday, according to three team sources and emails sent among parents of players, which were obtained by The Sun on Friday.

The dismissals came a day after a report in The Sun was published wherein several current and former Cornell softball players detailed allegations of mistreatment by head coach Julie Farlow ’97, mishandling of injuries and problematic team culture.

According to a statement from Cornell Athletics sent to The Sun on Friday afternoon, the dismissals were based on standard procedures.

“These roster changes were made prior to and without consideration of the recent Cornell Daily Sun article and are based on the considerations common to all competitive varsity teams,” the statement reads. “These decisions warranted and received long-term, serious consideration by the coaching staff, and were vetted with Athletics administrators, and are not malicious in nature. It would be inappropriate to speak publicly about any individual cases.”

One team source said in a text message that while she doesn’t know the details of the three players’ situations, all three “are suffering from chronic injuries and have previously expressed their concerns to Coach Farlow about how she handles injuries and mental health.”

According to two players on the 2019 roster who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, two players were “kicked off” the team on Tuesday, the day after the end of the season. A third quit voluntarily, the sources also said.

Emails obtained by The Sun, in which parents of the two dismissed student athletes discussed the situation, echoed what players described as an atmosphere in which injuries and mental health were not handled properly. Members of the coaching and training staffs, including Farlow, were copied on the emails.

Parents of a dismissed player wrote that their daughter “was abruptly dismissed from the team this week apparently for a) being injured and b) speaking up.”

The player “spoke truth to power, and because of that, she cleaned out her locker today for the last time,” a released player’s parents wrote in an email on Thursday.

The parents said there is “an undeniable pattern of disregard by coaches for the physical and mental health of players, which is tolerated by Cornell athletics.” They also wrote that Cornell softball coaches are “abusive and maintain a hostile environment.”

One of the emails said that a dismissed player had tried to open a dialogue with the coaching staff prior to the end of the season and that “[assistant coach Janet] Maguire told her to ‘shut the f*ck up’ in front of the team in the dugout during a game. She met privately with the coaches following the incident to demand civil treatment and was greeted with contempt.”

The emails also said, and an anonymous former team captain confirmed, that the softball team operated without player captains this season, leaving ambiguous the roles of player leadership on the team.

The dismissals and withdrawal occurred on Tuesday, the day after Cornell’s 2019 season — Farlow’s fourth at the helm — ended on Monday with a 9-1 loss to Harvard. The Red finished the season with a 10-36 record.

Multiple Twitter and Facebook users also discussed the three players’ removals from the team on Tuesday. Former player Tori Togashi ’18 tweeted: “Two of the hardest working girls I know were ‘released’ from the team today following the release of [The Sun’s] article.”

Sarah Murray ’20 — a former player who, with Olivia Lam ’19, initially contacted The Sun to detail issues described in Monday’s report — wrote on Facebook that two players had been kicked off the team Tuesday and another had quit, adding, “something needs to change.”