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Penn Cancels Rest of Volleyball Season After Unidentified 'Vulgar' Posters Discovered in Locker Room

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The University of Pennsylvania has punished its volleyball team for “vulgar” posters put up in the locker room by canceling the rest of the team’s season.

“The decision to cancel the remainder of the season was made following the discovery of vulgar, offensive, and disrespectful posters in the women’s volleyball locker room earlier this week,” the Ivy League school said in a news release Nov. 13.

“These actions were in violation of team and Divisional policy and this matter has been referred to University administration for further review in accordance with University policy,” it said.

The release did not say what was offensive about the posters.

“The behavior exhibited by our women’s volleyball student-athletes is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” athletics director M. Grace Calhoun said in a statement.

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“We expect our student-athletes to represent the University of Pennsylvania in a first-class and respectful manner at all times, and in this case, our volleyball student-athletes did not meet that standard. We have reviewed the matter with the appropriate University partners and will determine additional steps in the coming days and weeks,” she said.

The college’s volleyball program has been in disarray since the hiring of current coach Iain Braddak in April 2018, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Do you think the season should have been canceled because of the posters?

Since then, eight players have filed formal grievances with the athletic department over his alleged conduct.

The student-run Daily Pennsylvanian said the grievances focused on the overall mental health of the team.

Citing unidentified players as its source, the outlet reported the grievances were “Braddak telling an assistant coach to hit a player in the face with the ball in practice, Braddak accusing the team of bullying over a misplaced jacket, and the coach telling a player that their lack of playing time could be worse; they could become addicted to heroin or commit suicide.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian quoted one player’s comments about the NCAA Division I team.

“As a freshman only barely having finished one semester here, I know I don’t have the most traditionally ‘wise’ perspective of college athletics,” Carmina Raquel said. “But I can confidently and wholeheartedly say that Penn volleyball’s 2018 season was not it.”

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“I can literally see the pieces of our team and of our program on the floor of Penn Athletics’ administration office,” she said. “No one knows how to pick the pieces back up. No one wants to. No one wants to put in the effort to restart the game. But what are we supposed to do? We are kicking, screaming, and crying out from rock bottom for help — for action. And no one is listening.”

As part of the grievance process, the players confronted Braddak in a “restorative justice” meeting in February and aired all of their concerns. The Daily Pennsylvanian said the “mood on the team after restorative justice was akin to a deep grief or mourning.”

“We couldn’t even get any work done that night because it was so emotionally traumatizing,” team captain Caroline Furrer was quoted as saying.

However, the school took no action after the meeting, according to the report.

The Daily Pennsylvanian said it reached out to Braddak for comment via Penn’s athletic department, which declined to make him available.

The university said in a statement that the cancellation of the season was not related to any prior incidents.

“We want to make it explicit that the decision to cancel the final two games was in no way connected to the grievances submitted last season by volleyball student-athletes. If this behavior had been exhibited by any of our 33 intercollegiate teams, there would be similar consequences,” it said.

The cancellation wiped out games that would have been played against Yale and Brown. Penn finished the season with an overall 11-10 record and was 4-8 and in the Ivy League.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
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