Former women’s basketball player sues Nebraska

Former women’s basketball player sues Nebraska

  • Associated Press

Feb 19, 2024, 02:52 PM ET

OMAHA, Neb. — A former Nebraska women’s basketball player accuses coach Amy Williams and athletic director Trev Alberts of not taking appropriate action when her sexual relationship with an assistant coach became widely known.

Ashley Scoggin filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court describing how then-associate head coach Chuck Love allegedly took a special interest in her and how the relationship turned sexual and caused Scoggin to fear retaliation if she refused to engage in it.

The lawsuit was filed Sunday and, in addition to Williams and Alberts, names the university’s Board of Regents and Love as defendants. Scoggin seeks a jury trial in Lincoln and unspecified damages for the alleged violation of her civil rights.

Williams and a spokesperson for the regents declined to comment. Alberts and Love did not immediately respond to text and emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

“It’s a very troubling and serious subject of predatory coaches that pursue sexual relationships with student-athletes,” Scoggin attorney Maren Chaloupka said. “There’s an enormous imbalance of power between the professional coach and student-athletes. This is something that was well known in 2022.

“Certainly Division I universities that operate at the top level are well aware of the harm that comes from this kind of a predatory situation, and there’s a strong onus on the university and on the coaches to prevent this from happening and, heaven forbid it does happen, to address is correctly.”

Scoggin played two seasons for the Cornhuskers. She was dismissed from the team on the same day Love was suspended with pay in February 2022. Love resigned three months later. Scoggin now plays at UNLV.

Williams and Alberts are accused of not providing training or setting rules and policies prohibiting staff members from having sexual relationships with athletes, with the lawsuit saying the lack of safeguards “was so reckless that misconduct involving sexual misconduct by coaches was inevitable as of September 2021.”

According to the lawsuit:

Scoggin had an internship in the athletic department in the summer of 2021, and she expressed interest in becoming a coach someday. Love invited Scoggin to work at a small table in his office, and she accepted.

Love asked Scoggin personal questions, including the type of alcohol she preferred, and Love began asking her to go out for drinks with him. Scoggin declined several invitations but eventually accepted one. A few days later, they met late at night in a Costco parking lot, where Love kissed her and asked, “Have you ever done anything with a coach before?”

The interaction left Scoggin feeling “confused and trapped” because “it was now undeniable that Love wanted a sexual relationship.” Once the relationship turned sexual, Love expected Scoggin to be “available and willing” whenever he wanted to have sex, including summoning her to his hotel room when the team traveled for away games.

On the night before a game at Penn State in February 2022, team members and practice players created a ruse to confirm and videotape Scoggin’s presence in Love’s hotel room. A male practice player falsely represented himself to the desk clerk as Love to obtain a duplicate room key. Two team members confronted Scoggin in Love’s room. They reported their findings and showed the video to Williams.

“Williams cast Ashley in the role of a seducer and a liar,” the lawsuit said. “She allowed the players to berate and accuse Ashley for hours. She did not redirect or counsel the players that what they had seen may be the result of an abuse of power by her associate head coach.”

Upon returning to Lincoln, Scoggin was not informed of her rights under Title IX and in a meeting with Williams and other members of the administration was told she was off the team, according to the complaint.

Scoggin’s dismissal and Love’s suspension were reported simultaneously by the media.

“NU, Williams and Alberts were motivated to avoid scandal and embarrassment to the Cornhuskers women’s basketball program instead of being motivated to protect its student-athlete, Ashley,” the lawsuit said.

“NU, Williams and Alberts allowed the speculation and perception to fester that Ashley was ‘equally to blame’ or otherwise had done something improper when they should have sent a clear message that it is always improper for a professional coach to pursue a sexual relationship with a student-athlete.”

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