Several members of the Ole Miss softball coaching staff are under Title IX investigation over complaints filed against an assistant coach accusing her of sexual misconduct with a player.
Assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder was reportedly romantically involved with an older student-athlete on the team, who was dating another senior teammate at the time, according to running sticks.
The allegedly inappropriate relationship was discovered in July when the girlfriend found a text message from Browder indicating a relationship between her partner and their assistant coach.
She then printed out screenshots of the text exchange and pasted them on the coach’s computer in her office.
Head coach Jamie Trachsel is said to have become involved. The coaches reportedly convinced the students to keep quiet and offer them “scholarship money.”
Ole Miss softball assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder (left) reportedly had a romantic relationship with a senior student athlete on the team. The alleged relationship was discovered by the athlete’s girlfriend who was also on the team. Head coach Jamie Trachsel is on the right in the photo
A letter reportedly sent to Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter on July 29 accuses Trachsel of ‘covering up a sexual misconduct scandal involving two super seniors and a female assistant coach’
Title IX states that “No person in the United States shall be excluded on the basis of sex from participating in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in connection with any educational program or activity that receives financial support from the federal government”
The two involved softball players announced their decision to return to Ole Miss in early July for their super senior year.
Browder was married to her friend CJ in December 2019, shortly before joining Ole Miss’s coaching staff.
Browder and Trachsel previously worked together on the technical staff of the University of Minnesota. Browder left first and joined Ole Miss team, the Rebels in 2020 as an assistant coach and Trachsel joined as head coach this year.
Thirteen people associated with the Ole Miss softball program have confirmed that running sticks that a Title IX investigation has been launched.
Formal complaints were sent to the offices of Ole Miss Equal Opportunity and Regulation, Southeastern Conference Compliance and NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs on May 10, the outlet said.
A letter sent to Athletic Director Keith Carter on July 29 and obtained by Running Poles accuses head coach Jamie Trachsel of “covering up a sexual misconduct scandal involving two super seniors and a female assistant coach”.
The complaints allege that Trachsel “created and embraced a mentally toxic culture.”
It is not the first time the head coach has heard this accusation. In addition to her ten-year career as a softball coach, Trachsel reportedly has a history of abusive behavior.
All 13 people who confirmed the Title IX investigation said the coaching staff tried to influence their votes in the 2020 presidential election.
A Title IX investigation into the situation has been launched, according to 13 people associated with the university team
Both Browder and Trachsel recently joined the Ole Miss coaching staff after working together at the University of Minnesota
Rietkovich is said to have told the women during a Zoom call: “If my wife or other people in my family voted for Trump, they would only hurt me.”
The mother of player McKenzie Barbara claims she had to inform Shannon Singletary, Executive Associate Athletic Director, of Trachsel’s threats to take her daughter’s scholarship when she was invited to train with the Italian national team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“When Mac was invited to train and play with the Italian national team, she went straight to Trachsel,” said mother Corrie Barbara. “Instead of congratulating her or being excited, she told her that if she left, she would leave the team and lose her scholarship.
“She also told her that it was disrespectful to think about it and that she was disappointing her team and coaches.”
The family threatened to file a complaint with the NCAA, but the issues were resolved.
A former Minnesota student athlete who played for Trachsel in 2019 spoke to Running Poles on condition of anonymity.
“Honestly, we made it to the Women’s College World Series that year despite her,” she said. “The most heartbreaking thing was we would win and win and win, then we would sigh and wonder what would happen to our coach because no one would hear us if we kept winning.”
The former softball star said she and her teammates complained to athletic director Mark Coyle five to 10 times about the mental abuse they endured while playing for Trachsel.
According to the player, half of the Minnesota team went to a sports psychologist at one point, but her abuse “went really unnoticed” because she didn’t break a rule right away.
Browder (left) married several months in December 2019 before joining Ole Miss. Trachsel (right) reportedly faced complaints about creating an unsafe and ‘scary’ environment
“When I went to talk to Coyle, he seemed concerned, but the main thing he kept saying was, ‘I can’t find this in the rulebook,'” she continued. “He said he had to find something and prove something that was in the rulebook so he could do something about it, so it really went unnoticed. I’m sure he didn’t want to fire a winning coach and someone who wasn’t technically breaking the rules.”
When the school learned that half the team was seeking therapy, the university assigned someone from compliance to oversee practices that upset the head coach, the student said.
“She expected us to follow her rules, but it was our fault that she had to face consequences for breaking the rules. It was really scary.’
Trachsel seems to have continued to foster unsafe environments for its players for years, according to letters of complaint and anecdotes from its players, but these issues have never been formally investigated until now.
Ole Miss University has not yet commented on the allegations.