Several members of the Ole Miss softball coaching staff are under a Title IX investigation due to complaints filed against an assistant coach accusing her of sexual misconduct with a player.
Assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder was allegedly romantically involved with a senior student-athlete on the team, who was dating another senior teammate at the time, according to Running Poles.
The alleged inappropriate relationship was discovered in July when the girlfriend found a text sent from Browder pointing to a relationship between her partner and their assistant coach.
She then printed out screenshots of the text exchange and and taped them to the coach’s computer in her office.
Head coach, Jamie Trachsel, the allegedly became involved. The coaches reportedly convinced the students to stay quiet offering them ‘scholarship money.’
Ole Miss softball assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder (left) was allegedly in a romantic relationship with a senior student-athlete on the team. The alleged relationship was discovered by the athlete’s girlfriend who was also on the team. Head coach Jamie Trachsel is pictured right
A letter allegedly sent to Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter on July 29 accuses Trachsel of ‘covering up a sexual misconduct scandal involving two super seniors and a female assistant coach’
Title IX states that ‘No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance’
The two softball players involved announced their decisions to return to Ole Miss for their super senior year in early July.
Browder was married to her girlfriend C.J. in December 2019 shortly before joining the Ole Miss coaching staff.
Browder and Trachsel previously worked together on the coaching staff at the University of Minnesota. Browder left first, joining Ole Miss team, the Rebels in 2020 as an assistant coach with Trachsel joining as head coach this year.
Thirteen people connected with the Ole Miss softball program have confirmed to Running Poles that a Title IX investigation has been launched.
Formal complaints were sent on May 10 to the offices of Ole Miss Equal Opportunity and Regulation, Southeastern Conference Compliance and NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs, according to the outlet.
A letter sent to Athletic Director Keith Carter on July 29, which was obtained by Running Poles, accuses head coach Jamie Trachsel of ‘covering up a sexual misconduct scandal involving two super seniors and a female assistant coach.’
The complaints allege that Trachsel ‘created and embraced a mentally toxic culture.’
This is not the first time the head coach has heard this accusation. Along with her decade long career coaching softball, Trachsel allegedly has a history of abusive behavior.
All 13 people who confirmed the Title IX investigation said the coaching staff attempted to influence their votes during the 2020 presidential election.
A Title IX investigation has been launched into the situation, according to 13 people associated with the college team
Both Browder and Trachsel recently joined the Ole Miss coaching staff after having worked together at the University of Minnesota
Rietkovich supposedly told the women on a Zoom call, ‘If my wife or other people in my family voted for Trump then all they would be doing is hurting me.’
The mother of player McKenzie Barbara claims she had to inform Executive Associate Athletic Director Shannon Singletary of Trachsel’s threats to take away her daughter’s scholarship when she was invited to train with the Italian National Team for the Tokyo Olympics.
‘When Mac was invited to train and play with the Italian National Team she went directly to Trachsel,’ said mother Corrie Barbara. ‘Instead of congratulating her or being excited, she told her that if she left she would be quitting the team and forfeiting her scholarship.
‘She also told her that is was disrespectful for her to consider it and that she was letting her team and coaches down.’
The family threatened to file a complaint with the NCAA but the issues was resolved.
A former Minnesota student-athlete who played for Trachsel in 2019 spoke with Running Poles on the condition of anonymity.
‘Honestly, it was in spite of her that we made it to the Women’s College World Series that year,’ she said. ‘The most heartbreaking part about it was that we would win and win and win then we would just sigh and wonder what was going to happen with our coach because nobody was going to hear us if we kept winning.’
The former softball player said she and her teammates players complained to Athletic Director Mark Coyle between five and 10 times about the mental abuse they were enduring while playing for Trachsel.
Half the Minnesota team was seeing a sports psychologist at some point, according to the player, but her abuse ‘really went unnoticed’ because she was not directly breaking a rule.
Browder (left) was married in December 2019 several months before joining Ole Miss. Trachsel (right) has allegedly faced complaints of creating an unsafe and ‘scary’ environment
‘When I went and talked to Coyle, he seemed concerned but his big thing that he kept saying was, ‘I can’t find this in the rule book,’ she continued. ‘He said he needed to find something and prove something that was in the rule book for him to do anything about it so it really went unnoticed. I’m sure he didn’t want to fire a winning coach and someone who technically wasn’t breaking the rules.’
When the school learned that half the team was seeking therapy, the university designated someone from compliance to oversee the practices which upset the head coach, the student said.
‘She expected us to follow her rules but it was our fault that she had to face consequences for breaking the rules. It was really scary.’
Trachsel appears to have continued to foster unsafe environments for her players for several years, according to complaint letters and anecdotes from her players but these issues have never formally been investigated until now.
Ole Miss University has yet to respond to the allegations.