Report: Seton Hall Softball Coach Accused of Bullying Players, Flouting NCAA Rules

Auburn v Seton Hall

Waking up Sunday morning it appears another New Jersey university could find itself at the center of a coaching controversy that has little to do with Xs and Os. The Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro writes how numerous Seton Hall softball players have taken major issue with first-year coach Paige Smith.

In the past month, Smith has been accused by players and parents of bullying, placing sports ahead of academics, flouting NCAA rules, threats of revoking scholarship agreements made by her predecessor, and inventing violations to cut two seniors.

The story goes on to detail how Smith told senior Brooke Rickards she would be unable to see off her husband as he shipped off for a tour of duty in Afganistan and later cut her from the team for missing a game to attend a Spanish class. There are also accusations in the story that Smith divided teams into practice groups called, “aborted fetuses” and “booze bags.”

Barely a month removed from the Mike Rice incident at Rutgers, D’Alessandro wonders if there are any comparisons or parallels to be drawn.

But it’s hard to know whether this coach is a milder version of ousted Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice or the victim of a terrible series of misunderstandings. Is this a coach out of control or overly sensitive players and parents?

Smith was not allowed to comment on the story and the Seton Hall athletic department only commented in the form of a statement. The Pirates finished the season 21-30, losing to Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament on May 8.

Figure on this story getting bigger once it gets out into the wind.

[Photo via Getty]

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