Press "Enter" to skip to content

Extra athlete maltreatment allegations floor towards Lakehead College’s former ladies’s basketball coach

Three extra former gamers with the Lakehead College ladies’s basketball crew in Thunder Bay, Ont., have come ahead with allegations of maltreatment towards its former coach, in what the college’s incoming president calls a difficulty of “nice concern.” 

Megan Schwartz, a former capturing guard on the 2010 crew, and one other former participant have made related allegations about on-court maltreatment and wrongdoing involving the work-study program, whereas a 3rd participant says she skilled bullying on-court behaviour by the hands of longtime coach Jon Kreiner. 

“Simply because it is regular doesn’t suggest it isn’t poisonous,” Schwartz stated. “The entire tradition … must be modified.”

Throughout her time at Lakehead, Schwartz stated, she was recognized with melancholy. She stated that when she confided in Kreiner about what she was going by, she was made to disclose her situation to her crew and inform everybody she was on remedy.

Different sources have described related situations the place gamers can be shamed in entrance of all the crew.

“You generally is a powerful coach with out inflicting somebody emotional hurt,” stated Schwartz, who’s from Regina, the place she’s now teaching a highschool crew. 

Incoming president pledges to look into state of affairs

In January, CBC Information reported on allegations from 10 folks presently or previously affiliated with Lakehead’s ladies’s basketball program. They declare Kreiner’s maltreatment of athletes included bullying, kicking basketballs at gamers and breaking clipboards.

Six of these sources stated the college had begun an inside investigation into allegations Kreiner stole 1000’s of {dollars} from athletes over not less than a decade by the college’s work-study program. 5 of them stated they know senior members within the athletics division have been conscious of those allegations, however didn’t cease the purported theft and defend athletes.

Megan Schwartz warms up throughout a Lakehead ladies’s basketball sport in 2010. She practised with the crew the primary yr, however didn’t enter video games. She was reduce earlier than the beginning of her second season. (Submitted by Megan Schwartz )

Lakehead College’s incoming president, Gillian Siddall, has pledged to study extra when she arrives on campus to take over the function July 1. She’s presently president of the Emily Carr College of Artwork and Design in Vancouver. 

“I am conscious of that state of affairs,” Siddall stated in an interview with CBC’s Superior Morning, referring to the Lakehead basketball complaints. “I am not ready to talk to it. I am not there. Clearly it is a difficulty of nice concern and I’ll study extra about it as soon as I am on the bottom.” 

She stated she’ll do a broad assessment of Lakehead’s programming after she begins, and it’ll embody the athletics division, however she didn’t supply some other feedback in regards to the allegations towards the crew and Kreiner. 

Schwartz additionally stated she was a part of the work-study program underneath investigation by the college. Former athletes in this system have alleged Kreiner stole cash from them. 

13 folks both presently or previously linked with the basketball crew have spoken with CBC Information about what they are saying have been points with this system.

Ex-coach cites his ‘skilled conduct’ 

CBC Information requested an interview with Kreiner after the extra athletes got here ahead. He declined the request, however issued an announcement defending his file. 

“I’m not in a position to present some other particulars in response to those allegations. I stay assured in my file, my dedication to the groups and group, {and professional} conduct,” Kreiner stated.

A man wearing a Lakehead basketball shirt looks at the camera.
Kreiner had been head coach of Lakehead College ladies’s basketball crew for 18 seasons. He and the college ‘parted methods’ in 2022 amid allegations of theft and athlete maltreatment. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

Kreiner had been head coach since 2003, main the crew to an total win-loss file of 272-307 by 18 seasons. David McCallum took over as interim head coach for the 2022-2023 season. 

The college not too long ago introduced Hugo Boisvert would turn out to be full-time head coach beginning June 1.

When requested in regards to the former gamers’ allegations, Boisvert stated he would not discuss what could have occurred at Lakehead previously. 

“The one factor I do know, I’ve all the time held myself to the very best customary of integrity, and I am going to proceed to try this. And I am going to count on the identical from all my employees members and my gamers as properly,” stated Boisvert, who’s leaving his place with the ladies’s basketball crew at Laval College in Quebec to relocate to Thunder Bay. 

CBC Information additionally made a number of requests to Lakehead for interviews particularly about allegations by now-former athletes and the college’s dedication to athlete security, however didn’t obtain a response.

The college’s athletic director, Tom Warden, has not publicly addressed the allegations and has not been made out there for interviews. 

CBC Information spoke with an professional in sport integrity and governance, Whitney Bragagnolo, who stated poisonous, aggressive cultures are deeply embedded inside sports activities establishments in any respect ranges.

‘I misplaced my drive and my ardour for the game’

Schwartz stated her relationship with Kreiner started when he invited her to Thunder Bay for a recruiting journey whereas she was dwelling in Regina, to satisfy the Lakehead crew the summer season earlier than she started her research.

Schwartz nearly tore her quadricep throughout coaching camp, and stated it set the precedent for her season. She pushed by her harm, for worry of retribution, inflicting additional harm. In her first season, she red-shirted — which implies she attended practices, however did not play in video games. 

After she was promised a spot on the crew in her second yr, she stated, she was reduce per week earlier than faculty began, when she had already moved again to Thunder Bay.

“I misplaced my drive and my ardour for the game that I completely liked,” she stated. “For 10-plus years, I have been harbouring all this.”

Schwartz was additionally a part of the work-study program underneath investigation by Lakehead. 

In accordance with the contract she signed to play basketball, Schwartz was required to take part within the work-study program and was to obtain a set sum of money for serving to coach the Junior Wolves basketball crew. 

What number of nice athletes did we lose as a result of there wasn’t this protected place for them or their psychological well being declined? ​​​​​– Megan Schwartz, former Lakehead College ladies’s basketball participant

Towards the tip of the college yr, she stated, Kreiner informed her she had been overpaid and wanted to provide a few of her earnings again — which might be reinvested into the crew’s scholarship program for different gamers.

However Schwartz stated she was involved about this and informed her dad. 

She stated he checked out her account and located she was really owed two extra funds. She stated she introduced these considerations to Kreiner and confirmed him the financial institution statements, however he dropped the topic. The state of affairs raised purple flags for her, since a few of her teammates have been additionally informed they owed cash.

Schwartz stated she informed athletic director Tom Warden, who nonetheless holds this place, in regards to the work-study state of affairs, however by no means acquired followup about her considerations.

In case you’ve skilled maltreatment whereas taking part in college athletics and need to share your story, contact us by e mail at [email protected], by Sign at 807-630-2160 or CBC Safe Dropbox.

One other former participant supplied CBC Information with screenshots of two textual content conversations: 

One seems to be between her and Kreiner, and the opposite between her and one other athlete Kreiner allegedly informed her to switch work-study funds to. 

In that trade, the participant, it seems, asks Kreiner if she ought to switch $1,000 in work-study cash to him immediately. He tells her no, however says she ought to switch the cash on to the opposite participant.

Then, within the different textual content trade, the 2 gamers focus on a “pool” created by cash taken from gamers’ charges after which that cash is redistributed.

The participant who spoke to CBC Information stated she supplied this documentation to the college in October 2022, however she hasn’t heard from the college since then. 

CBC Information is preserving her id confidential as a result of nature of the continuing investigation. 

Neither Kreiner nor spokespeople for the college have responded to questions in regards to the allegations or standing of the investigation into the work-study program. 

A woman stands in a university gymnasium with a basketball under her arm.
Talia Peters performed on Lakehead College ladies’s basketball crew underneath Kreiner through the 2018-2019 season. She informed CBC Information that she and her teammates have been always yelled and sweared at, belittled and made to really feel scared to mess up. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Schwartz stated that when she heard gamers have been coming ahead about what they are saying they skilled, she was crammed with feelings — from grief and anguish, to reduction and validation — and he or she felt she was not alone. 

“One of many largest issues I felt was guilt as a result of I did not defend these ladies,” she stated.

Whereas Schwartz stated she had expressed her considerations to the athletic division, she felt ashamed she did not do extra to stop hurt to future athletes. However, she felt folks would not take her severely and would dismiss her as a disgruntled ex-athlete who was reduce from the crew. 

Athlete security the main focus of name for nationwide inquiry

The allegations towards Lakehead’s ladies’s basketball program come amid a nationwide dialogue round athlete security.

A letter signed by 91 people from 30 Canadian and 17 worldwide establishments from Students Towards Abuse in Canadian Sport urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to name for a nationwide inquiry amid “widespread experiences of sexual, bodily and psychological abuse of athletes all through the nation’s sport system.”

Whitney Bragagnolo is a sport integrity and governance guide finishing a PhD in sport governance, integrity and anti-corruption out of Charles College in Prague. Bragagnolo is presently ending a research with colleague and co-researcher Yanei Lezama about intercourse, energy and corruption in sport. 

The findings recommend athletes are reluctant to return ahead with considerations as a result of they’re afraid that it’ll result in backlash.

“What we’re seeing is a normal lack of belief in establishments,” stated Bragagnolo.

A headshot of a smiling woman with brown hair.
Whitney Bragagnolo, a sport integrity and governance guide, says a research she’s now engaged on suggests athletes are reluctant to return ahead with considerations as a result of they’re afraid it’ll result in backlash. (Submitted by Whitney Bragagnolo)

Bragagnolo stated there must be a multi-faceted strategy to sports activities integrity, areas together with regulation, coverage, governance and gender, and the way these intersect.

“Athletes are not noted of the dialog they usually have a lot precious enter. Their tales and experiences can educate us a lot [about] the place we have to evolve, the place we have to enhance.”

She reviewed Lakehead’s publicly out there documentation about its insurance policies for athletes who want to report potential wrongdoing, and provided suggestions, in gentle of the previous athletes’ allegations, about subsequent steps for the college’s athletics division.

Firstly, she stated, it is vital to know who belongs to the athletics board and what their credentials are. Making the division’s short- and long-term methods public is a method to assist maintain them accountable of their objectives and commitments.

She stated the division’s web site lacks this transparency.

Bragagnolo wish to see the division publish a code of conduct coverage, a code of ethics coverage and different governance paperwork, and to speak these repeatedly to the college’s stakeholders.

She additionally harassed the significance of investigations and annual assessments being performed by impartial third events. It is vital to think about who’s funding these opinions and whether or not there are conflicts of curiosity.

Name for a change in athletics tradition 

Schwartz stated that as her senior gamers on the Regina highschool crew she now coaches go on recruiting journeys, she desires to make sure they really feel empowered sufficient to voice any of their considerations.

To her, a coach ought to be dedicated to creating their gamers higher folks, not simply higher athletes. She additionally stated they should contemplate what it means for an athlete to uproot their life and transfer to a college, solely to be benched.

A woman coaching basketball gestures and speaks to a younger woman who is playing basketball.
Schwartz, proper, is now a basketball coach in Regina, and says she’s making an attempt to foster a supportive surroundings for her gamers. (Submitted by Megan Schwartz )

Schwartz is looking on Lakehead to comply with up on the considerations introduced ahead by former gamers about maltreatment and the work-study program. She desires to see an evaluation of the athletics division and what could be finished to enhance teaching practices.

And taking athletes’ considerations severely ought to be on the forefront, she stated.

“It is like a complete system change, proper? It isn’t only one crew, it isn’t only one athletic division. It is it as a complete.” 

Schwartz additionally desires psychological well being sources to be made extra accessible to athletes. She has open conversations about remedy with members of the crew she coaches, and says it is vital to be that protected particular person they will speak in confidence to in the event that they face points.

“What number of nice athletes did we lose as a result of there wasn’t this protected place for them or their psychological well being declined?” she requested.



Spread the love