Documents show several softball players made statements against - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Documents show several softball players made statements against Lotief before his termination

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette documents show several students made statements about Ragin' Cajuns Softball Coach Michael Lotief's in the months leading up to his termination.

KATC Investigates obtained the complaints, which accuse Lotief of verbal abuse, using inappropriate language and physical contact against his players.

One typed statement is dated Aug. 2, and a second is undated. Other handwritten notes appear to document the university's meetings with at least five different people throughout September.

Statements allege profane language, physical contact

The handwritten notes detail events dating back at least to 2015. The notes detail Lotief's language and behavior toward his players — including the 2015-16 season, when he allegedly obtained all his players' university email account passwords — and allege Lotief engaged in physical contact like pulling some players' ponytails and hitting them on the back of the head.

They also alleged he often used a lot of violent sexual phrasing, calling the players "p------" to accuse them of weakness after poor performances and telling them something like "they had leaned over and took it in the ass" in similar instances. In one confrontation with a field crew representative, Lotief allegedly told them, "I'm going to stick my d--- up your ass."

At one point, a player said Lotief referenced the Mickey Shunick case, in which a man abducted and murdered the 22-year-old after he rammed into her with his truck.

According to the handwritten notes of the player's account, Lotief "said if the team would have been in the truck, ya'll would have let him rape you."

In one document, a former player said she transferred because of the way Lotief treated her. She said he's a man fighting for women's equity, but the respect for his own players doesn't seem to add up with his actions.

Another former player described the atmosphere Lotief created as "brainwashed bullying culture." But she also acknowledged her commitment to the program, calling the team a "sisterhood" of players who stick around because they have "good opportunities."

One of that player's parents said in an email that Athletic Director Bryan Maggard's call for a meeting about her allegations took her by surprise. She said Deputy Athletic Director Jessica Leger “had convinced her that it would be best to just drop this matter.”

According to the documents, Maggard called the player for a meeting on Aug. 28, and it happened on Sept. 22.

The student statements are viewable here. Note: They do contain profanity.

Correspondence, reports show Lotief vocal about his players' amenities

The documents also show the university suspended Lotief three days after an Oct. 3 altercation with Candice Walls, director of strength and conditioning; Connor Stanton, assistant strength and conditioning coach; and Nico Yantko, deputy assistant director for external operations.

Softball players had been practicing all summer without an athletic trainer, and some of them were injured while dead lifting under the supervision of an "intern," as he stated in a text conversation. Lotief's expression on that issue turned confrontational and ended with Walls in tears, with student athletes from both the football and golf teams observing parts of the incident.

KATC also obtained hundreds of pages of communications between Lotief and the university that detail the coach's outreach on amenities for his players over the last year.

Some of those documents show some of Lotief's staff worked all summer without pay — a situation he remedied by offering some of his bonus pay to compensate them. He also had to urge the university to repair the softball field, where much of the grass was recently dead.

In November 2016, Lotief complained to Sun Belt Conference Deputy Commissioner Kathy Keene about inequitable treatment about player dugout limits in postseason play. At that point, softball was limited to 20 and baseball 35.

That week, Sun Belt unanimously moved to make the limits equal.

"This decision sends a clear message to all of SOFTBALL that our conference is principled and committed to the welfare of ALL student athletes. This is AMAZING; I'm so proud of our conference's courage to make the right stand on this issue. I have chill bumps!" Lotief responded in an email to Keene.

In other communications, he acknowledges his behavior can offend.

"I cannot control my anger when I feel in my heart that our female SA are being discriminated against or marginalized or forgotten about or given the crumbs or however you want to categorize it," he says in one correspondence.

While the search begins for Lotief's replacement, former Cajuns softball player and current team manager Shellie Landry coordinating the team's activity.

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