Coach Fired for Speaking Out Against Rival University | Athletic Business

Coach Fired for Speaking Out Against Rival University

A college coach in Canada was fired Wednesday for speaking out against how a rival university handled sexual harassment allegations against its coach.

According to The Globe and Mail, Queen’s University fired Steve Boyd – a cross country and track and field coach – for comments he made about the University of Guelph and its former running coach Dave Scott-Thomas, who was fired in December.

“Mr. Boyd has repeatedly engaged in public commentaries that do not reflect the values expected by representatives of Queen’s University," the Kingston, Ontario university said in a statement. "The university is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for its student athletes, and other members of the broader sporting community, of which Queen’s University is a member.”

Boyd, who coached the Queen’s women’s cross-country team to a national championship in the fall, spoke out against how Guelph did little to punish Scott-Thomas when it learned of the allegations against him in 2006. Boyd said he was warned not to talk about the Scott-Thomas situation by Queen’s executive director of athletics Leslie Dal Cin.

“She said I couldn’t talk about Dave Scott-Thomas or the University of Guelph in any matter – I could think about it, and that’s about it,” Boyd said, noting that Guelph athletics director Scott McRoberts complained of comments Boyd had made on the internet about the Scott-Thomas incident, including to vacate the school’s national titles. “It took 13 years for Guelph to fire their coach for what he did, and it took two months for Queen’s to get rid of me for having an opinion about it.

“It is silence that kept this story from coming out years ago, so it’s ironic that I’m now being fired for talking about it.”

Scott-Thomas was fired by the University of Guelph on Dec. 16, 13 years after the school became aware of a sexual relationship between Scott-Thomas and Megan Brown, a runner who told The Globe and Mail that she was groomed for a sexual relationship when she was 17.

A Guelph statement in January said that the university received a complaint from a student-athlete’s family member in 2006, and subsequently suspended Scott-Thomas for four weeks. Brown was allegedly ostracized by the university, while Scott-Thomas’ lawyer said the allegations were unsubstantiated.

While investigating another complaint last fall, Guelph found evidence that “made it clear that Scott-Thomas had lied repeatedly in 2006 about several significant matters.”

"During the course of reviewing this information and in the last 24 hours, the university became privy to new information regarding past unprofessional conduct," Guelph said in a statement. "Had the university been aware in 2006 of this information, it would have terminated its relationship with Scott-Thomas at that time.

“The behaviour of Scott-Thomas is both shocking and disturbing. The University extends its apologies to all athletes, students and co-workers who experienced this behaviour.”

Marley Beckett, a co-captain on the Queen’s track and cross-country teams, said the current team was told about Boyd’s dismissal in a meeting.

“There was no context to the meeting,” Beckett said. "They just told us that comments were made by [Mr. Boyd] that didn’t reflect the university. … I don’t think that the university should punish him for advocating for safe sport and women’s safety.”

“He is opinionated. But I’m disappointed in Queen’s because he’s had a significant impact in a positive way,” 2016 cross-country captain Gavin Hatheway said of Boyd, who has coached at Queen's since 2010.

Scott-Thomas led Guelph to 37 national titles in track and cross country, while also helping coach Canada’s national teams.

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