Letter to the editor: Firing of coach not fair, equitable

To the editor,

I am writing this letter to The Hullabaloo because I refuse to do nothing while a hardworking and compassionate person unjustly loses their job.

The following information is based off of my own understanding as a student athlete and employee of Tulane Athletics. 

After working for Tulane for many years, my strength and conditioning coach Stephanie Sharpe lost her job for disciplining two student athletes who showed up late for workout by having them “roll” in the Hertz Center gym. The punishment of having to roll on the floor, as odd as it might sound to those who have not had to do it, is a common and effective punishment used for years to discipline student athletes here at Tulane. The baseball and football teams usually have to do this outside in the heat on the turf fields.

This punishment is not unusual nor any more severe then other common methods of discipline here at Tulane and throughout NCAA Division I athletics, including running suicides, running stadiums and pushing sleds. Discipline is a part of being a student athlete and helps to teach values like punctuality.

In the Tulane Athletics mission statement the administration pledges to many principles including “to commit to diversity and the equitable and non-discriminatory treatment of all student-athletes and staff.” By firing the only female weights coach we have for using the same coaching technique many Tulane coaches use, is not equitable, and stands as a direct contradiction of our mission statement. It is also not fair or consistent to say that it is fine for some sports teams to be physically punished for misbehavior, but not acceptable for others. If physical punishment is deemed unacceptable by Tulane University, change the policy, and then hold all coaches accountable to that policy.

As student athletes Tulane asks us to be forthcoming as people of integrity. We in turn are now asking to hold the administration accountable to those same values of transparency and honesty.

Laura Rae Turpen

Tulane University Class of 2014
School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine
Tulane Women’s Swimming & Diving