Saratoga Springs school district to hire firm to review allegations of abusive sports culture
The Saratoga Springs City School District plans to hire a law firm to conduct a review of its athletic programs in the wake of allegations received about an abusive culture in sports.
Superintendent Michael Patton said the Board of Education on Tuesday will discuss hiring the firm to review allegations made against coaches of three women’s sports.
The law firm selected will have experience in K-12 education, athletics and investigations of this type and will be given the authority to seek independent subject matter experts to assist in its review.
A law firm representing at least 17 former student-athletes or parents calling its Safe Athletics for Everyone sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Attorney General Letitia James and other state officials asking for them to investigate what they called an abusive culture that pushed athletes to play through serious injuries and demeaned them.
The firm will review the complaints contained in the SAFE document that were made known to the district, how they were handled and whether they were handled appropriately. It will also review the current culture.
“It is important to everyone involved in our athletic program that our community has confidence in the program’s integrity and excellence,” he said in a statement. “Allegations such as these deserve to be taken seriously and not allowed to linger unanswered. We believe this comprehensive, independent review will benefit our athletic program, our school district, and our students, and we ask that all involved support this process with their full cooperation.”
The bulk of the accusations are aimed at the girl’s cross-country programs. In their depositions, they claimed that they were urged to practice every day of the year and were bullied.
Also cited in the sworn depositions are complaints regarding the girls’ soccer and lacrosse programs.