Ole Miss softball coaches cleared after Title IX allegations over improper relationship

·2 min read

Two Ole Miss softball coaches who were accused of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct and attempted bribes have been cleared by the school's Title IX office.

The investigation began when a letter was sent to Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter describing an alleged relationship between assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder and a student-athlete on the softball team. Browder is married. The student-athlete was dating another member of the team.

Head coach Jamie Trachsel allegedly got involved by attempting to bribe both players with scholarship money to remain quiet.

A person familiar with the investigation told USA TODAY Sports that some of those who were involved declined to speak with the Title IX office. The players were informed Wednesday afternoon of the investigation results. The person was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

"Following a comprehensive investigation by the university’s Title IX office, the anonymous allegations of inappropriate behavior by the softball staff are unsubstantiated. In addition, other anonymous allegations involving the culture of the softball program have been thoroughly reviewed by Athletics Compliance staff and were determined not to be in violation of any policies," Carter said in a statement.

"The well-being and experience of our student-athletes will always be our top priority, and through this extensive review, we discussed these anonymous claims with our players and all were unsubstantiated.

Ole Miss softball head coach Jamie Trachsel was cleared after a Title IX investigation.
Ole Miss softball head coach Jamie Trachsel was cleared after a Title IX investigation.

"Coach Trachsel and her staff are committed to building a healthy program and are working to address any issues to ensure a positive team environment. The staff has our full support, and we look forward to continuing our trajectory as one of the rising softball teams in the sport. This has been an emotional ordeal for our coaches and student-athletes, and we will assist them in moving forward from this matter."

According to the letter sent to Carter, one of the players took screenshots of text messages between her girlfriend and the assistant coach, printed the screenshots and then taped them to the coach’s office computer.

"We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to our university leadership for thoroughly reviewing this matter and reaching a conclusion," Trachsel said in a statement.

"The outpouring of support from family, friends, staff, colleagues and current and former student-athletes has not only been overwhelming but given us courage and strength through this situation. It has been an emotional time for our entire program, but I have no doubt our coaches and players will grow stronger together as we move through this shared experience. We look forward to putting this behind us as a team, as we continue to build our championship culture and compete for more titles here at Ole Miss."

Ole Miss went 36-22 in Trachsel's first season with the program.

Follow Scooby Axson on Twitter @ScoobAxson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ole Miss softball coaches cleared after allegations over relationship