Less than two weeks after The Daily Pennsylvanian published an article detailing poor player retention on Penn softball and allegations of mistreatment from Penn softball coach Leslie King, the DP was forwarded an email sent to Penn softball alumni from Penn Athletic Director M. Grace Calhoun.
The email, which was forwarded to the DP anonymously on February 7, stated that Penn Athletics had received a “wide range of feedback” in response to the DP’s article. The email also invited alumni to share additional information by contacting Associate Athletic Director Matt Valenti.
In response to a request for comment from Calhoun or Penn Athletics, Penn Athletics provided the following written statement.
“Penn Athletics regularly communicates with its alumni and supporters throughout the year,” the statement read. “The student-athlete experience and the health and safety of our student-athletes remain our top priority and we want to ensure that there is always an open line of communication between the Division and the alumni.”
The statement did not directly address the DP’s questions about what kind of feedback Penn Athletics had received or whether Calhoun had also contacted current Penn student-athletes following the article’s publication. The statement also did not address a question about whether a plan had been made for further action.
Since starting as Penn’s head coach in 2004, King has led the Quakers to one Ivy League Championship and five South Division titles. The team’s 2018 season will begin on March 4th when the Red and Blue travel to Florida to compete in the USF Under Armour Invitational.
The DP’s original article reported that since 2010, there was evidence to suggest that 26 players have left the team before their senior seasons. By comparison, an online list of Princeton softball’s letterwinners organized by year suggests that only five players left Princeton’s team over that same time period.
Multiple former players also alleged that King had put pressure on them to return prematurely from injuries. Others defended King, and said that she was a supportive coach who did not push them harder than what would be expected from a college athletics coach.
The DP is continuing to report on this developing story. If you have any information or experiences to share, please contact Sports Editor Yosef Weitzman at firstname.lastname@example.org
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