San Jose state coach’s grievance against athletic director upheld
SAN JOSE – Former San Jose State Athletic Director Marie Tuite has lost a grievance appeal against her in a retaliation case against swim coach Sage Hopkins who raised concerns about abuse sex on female athletes.
The Bay Area News Group has learned that a California State University legal system consultant dismissed the appeal in a nine-page notice sent on Friday saying the case is now closed.
The move comes a week after San Jose State President Mary Papazian demoted Tuite, who had headed the athletics department since 2017, to a fundraising role that supports sports facilities.
Tuite has been a central figure in the harassment and bullying allegations against Hopkins, which for years has raised concerns about the behavior of Scott Shaw, the school’s former director of sports medicine.
Shaw resigned last year before an independent investigation found he sexually assaulted female athletes during sports massages as early as 2006. The case caught the attention of the FBI and Civil Rights Division attorneys from the Department of Justice and led to legal opinions. the action of at least 10 female athletes.
Tuite is also a defendant in two wrongful dismissal lawsuits brought by former San Jose State Sports Department employees and in a whistleblower case brought by Hopkins.
San Jose state officials initially cleared Shaw of wrongdoing in 2010, when 17 swimmers told their coach they were sexually abused during muscle therapy treatments. Shaw continued to treat athletes until his resignation in August of last year.
In November 2019, Hopkins sent a 300-page dossier on Shaw to the National College Athletic Association, the governing body of intercollegiate athletics. An NCAA official passed the information on to administrators in the state of San Jose. Papazian, who became president in 2016, said she launched a second investigation into the matter after the university received the documents.
Hopkins’ lawsuit says administrators hit back at him for sending the case to the NCAA. In one case, the lawsuit says, Tuite offered Hopkins a new contract and a raise in May 2020 if he dropped a California State University retaliatory complaint against her. Although he refused, the school renewed the contract with a raise about a month later, according to the lawsuit. Hopkins also filed a grievance last June against Tuite for letting his contract expire.
The appeal decision on Friday said emails Hopkins sent to outside agencies about the lack of action against Shaw led to lower performance reviews. The ruling said the “emails he sent clearly fall within the scope of protected activities” as defined by a system-wide decree that prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation, or retaliation for. complaining about wrongdoing.
Tuite’s appeal alleged that Hopkins was targeting female supervisors with grievance complaints and this led to low ratings on his assessment. But the appeals investigator dismissed the argument because Hopkins filed the grievance in question after receiving the wrong assessment.
Hopkins’ lawsuit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court last month, indicates retaliation continued.
The lawsuit alleges Senior Associate Vice President Joanne Wright sent the coach a “no-contact order” on February 10, four days after filing further grievances against Tuite and assistant athletic director Eileen Daley.
The order banned Hopkins from being in the sports department, which is located next to the football stadium about 2.5 miles from the main campus where the aquatics center is located.
Lawsuit says university officials also questioned Hopkins’ mental state and stability and asked the campus behavioral response team to conduct a threat assessment and gun control on the coach.
Then, Hopkins filed another retaliatory grievance on February 12 of this year.
All of this happened within nine days after Hopkins and assistant swimming coach Whitney Jorgensen reported someone was breaking into their office at the Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center and “rummaging” through filing cabinets, the file said. suit.
University police had no footage of the alleged break-in because the system deleted all recordings every three to ten hours, the lawsuit said.
Editor-in-chief Julia Prodis Sulek contributed to this report.