The case of a softball coach accused of sexual harassment has left campus leaders, the coach and the team in a conundrum about what to do next.
University of Missouri-Kansas City assistant softball coach Greg Bachkora was accused of repeatedly walking into the team locker room while players were in various states of undress under the guise of using a microwave. In addition, Bachkora was accused of kissing some players and of making a joke referencing female genitalia in front of them. Three former players, who’ve since left the university, leveled the accusations. Now, their former teammates are rallying in support of Bachkora, and some are pressuring the accusers to recant.
The Kansas City Star reports that 25 current and former members of the softball team signed on to a letter in support of “Coach Bach,” disputing some of the allegations against him and challenging The Star’s reporting surrounding the case. It reads in part:
“Coach Bach is very important to us and our team… There is no one that cares more about our well-being, lives, jobs, etc. than him. We cannot express our gratitude for him nor describe to any extent how much he means to us on paper, but we hope to be heard nevertheless.”
The letter says that it would be impossible for anyone in the locker room to be seen by someone entering the space without their knowledge, and that every non-player with locker room access was required to knock and ask permission before coming in.
Still, the accusers are standing firm. “A lot of girls have texted me,” one of the accusers told The Star, “But he did those things.” She went on to say of the letters signatories “those girls did not play on the team the spring season when all of this was going down.”
UMKC athletic director Brandon Martin announced on Tuesday that Bachkora would go on a voluntary leave of absence. In announcing the move, Martin said he would “review all aspects of UMKC Softball, with the goal of providing assurance to students, parents and fans that we are delivering an excellent standard of care for our student athletes.”