On Nov. 13, Penn Athletics posted a brief press-release titled “Remainder of Penn Volleyball Season Cancelled” on its website. Since then, The Daily Pennsylvanian has spoken to numerous sources on the condition of anonymity who claimed to have knowledge of the situation. More than two months after “vulgar and offensive” posters were discovered in the Penn volleyball locker room, here is what we do and don’t know about the season-ending scandal.
What we know:
Iain Braddak has resigned as Penn volleyball coach
On Friday, Penn Athletics announced in a press release that coach Iain Braddak had resigned from his position at the helm of the team. A search for a new head coach began immediately after the initial announcement.
Braddak, who was hired in April 2018 as the team’s third head coach in three years, did not have an easy tenure. A tumultuous 21 months included widespread accounts of mistreatment, eight formal grievances from his players, and the cancellation of two games at the end of the 2019 season.
Braddak had a record of 17-29 (7-19 Ivy) during his time as head coach, the worst mark in program history. He also became the first Penn volleyball coach to finish their time with the team with a losing record.
The University, not Penn Athletics, is handling discipline for the poster incident
The Nov. 13 press release stated that University administration would be handling further review of the incident that led to the cancellation of the last two games of the 2019 season.
Although Penn Athletics Director M. Grace Calhoun made the final decision regarding that cancellation, she, nor anyone else in Penn Athletics, is the party directly responsible for determining potential discipline for the student-athletes involved. Instead, those decisions will be made by school administration according to overall University policy.
The timeline and process for potential discipline remains unclear.
Penn Athletics says the poster incident is unrelated to previous complaints against Braddak
Some observers thought that the posters might be related to the allegations of mistreatment and grievances against Braddak after the initial cancellation announcement. Penn Athletics then issued a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer saying that the poster incident was “in no way connected” to the grievances. The DP has not been able to confirm this with players on the team.
What we don’t know:
What was on the posters
The DP spoke with many sources claiming inside knowledge of the situation in the aftermath of the season’s cancellation. Occasionally, details from multiple sources overlapped, but the DP was unable to confirm any of the rumors. Each story did have two elements in common: that the content of the posters was sexual in nature, and that the posters were hung as part of a tradition of team-bonding pranks. Penn Athletics declined to comment in response to the DP’s request for confirmation.
Who is currently in charge of the team
In the press release announcing Braddak’s resignation, Penn Athletics did not say if there was someone leading the team in the interim. Assistant coach Christina Kremer is also no longer with the team, as she recently accepted the head coaching job at Gardner-Webb. The other assistant coach listed on the Penn volleyball roster is Julia Malseed, who has been with the Quakers since July 2018.
How the poster incident will affect the team moving forward
Penn Athletics has not commented on what the team will look like next season. It seems likely that the team’s ability to recruit talented athletes will suffer as a result of the scandals. In the most recent comparable situation, Harvard men’s soccer in 2016, the Crimson suffered on-field consequences for the scandal. In the three seasons since, Harvard men’s soccer has won just five games — a far cry from the double-digit win totals in the years preceding the scandal. Penn volleyball can likely expect similar results.
It is also unclear whether the team plans on holding offseason practices or scrimmages as they have in past years. Braddak led team practices last January and February even while the grievance process was underway. Multiple players told the DP last spring that administrators — including Associate Athletics Director Matt Valenti and Senior Associate Athletic Director Rudy Fuller — were present at those practices in a supervisory role.
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