PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Women’s Gymnastics Associate Head Coach To Resign After Abuse Allegations

Penn State women’s gymnastics associate head coach Rachelle Thompson will resign following allegations from former gymnasts that she and her husband, head coach Jeff Thompson, created a hostile team environment by pressuring athletes to train through injuries and lose as much weight as possible and use of bullying tactics.

Rachelle Thompson’s resignation is effective June 30, according to athletic department spokesman Jeff Nelson. Jeff Thompson will remain as head coach.

The athletic department released a statement confirming her resignation.

“We have accepted Rachelle Thompson’s resignation and thank her for her commitment to Penn State, our women’s gymnastics program and her many contributions as Associate Head Coach. We wish her all the best as she begins her next chapter.  The program has a solid foundation for future success and we look forward to continuing to build upon it with Head Coach Jeff Thompson and his staff. A national search for her replacement will begin immediately.”

The Daily Collegian initially reported on the complaints from former gymnasts at Penn State, where the Thompsons have coached since 2010, and one at Auburn where they previously coached for 11 years. One told the Collegian she had considered suicide after being demeaned by the Thompsons for not being able to train through an injury. Others said Rachelle Thompson publicly ridiculed their weight and that Jeff Thompson walked in on a locker room meeting and made comments about the gymnasts’ sex lives.

PennLive.com later reported that the entire team complained to a university administrator about the negative environment created by the Thompsons. A former gymnast said the Thompsons pressed her to answer questions about her boyfriend and screamed at her for slowing down during an injury. Others reported being ridiculed for their weight and being asked intrusive questions.

Former assistant coach Samantha Brown, who was terminated in January, said that administrators failed to address concerns brought forward by her and athletes.

All eight members of the 2012 freshman class have since left the team, which had no senior members in 2016.

Brown and former gymnasts created an online petition demanding an outside investigation of the program and the athletic department. The petition has gained more than 1,100 signatures since being posted last week.

A statement from the Penn State athletic to the Collegian at the time of the initial report said, “We are driven first and foremost by the welfare of our student-athletes and thoroughly consider and review any issue brought to our attention through well-established, confidential processes. The Intercollegiate Athletics staff is dedicated to providing the resources necessary to create conditions for success to balance the rigors of high expectations in the classroom and in competition.”

“There are varied opportunities for feedback, all of which are given the attention they deserve,” the statement continued. “In any medical situation, student-athlete practice and competition participation decisions are made by medical professionals after consultation with all necessary parties.”

About the Author

StateCollege.com

Posts from our partner website StateCollege.com.

Comments

More by StateCollege.com

Herwig’s Austrian Bistro Sets Closing Date

Owner Bernd Brandstatter announced in March that restaurant would be closing between June and August, but the final day of business has been moved up.

Former Penn State Football Player Denies Burglary, Assault Accusations

Spats Cafe Collaboration With Allen Street Grill Set For Grand Opening

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Soccer Beats Duquesne 6-0

Emily Ogle, Frankie Tagliaferri, Kerry Abello, Rachel Wasserman, and Kim Dubs scored for the Nittany Lions in Sunday’s lopsided victory.

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Student Life

Student Body President Cody Heaton Welcomes Class of 2022 At Convocation

UPUA President Cody Heaton welcomed the incoming Class of 2022 Saturday evening with an inspiring speech.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Penn State Officially Welcomes Class Of 2022 At Convocation

The Class of 2022 joined the Penn State family Saturday evening at Convocation.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend