According to Dallas News, two Plano East Senior High School baseball coaches are have been accused of subjecting their players to racist comments and turned a blind eye an alleged “fight club” being conducted by their high school players.
The high school fight club allegations surfaced after an array of parents’ complaints forced authorities to launch a thorough investigation of head coach Travis Collins and assistant coach Reagan Allen.
The two high school baseball coaches have been on paid administrative leave since August.
Plano East High School students also verified instances of their former coaches abuse to the Dallas Morning News this week. Students reported the coaches often made demeaning comments about them and would be especially harsh to injured players.
“It was as if it was just a game to the coaches to see who could dish out the funniest nickname or phrase to ridicule the hurt player,” one student said during the investigation.
The high school coaches’ lawyer, Giana Ortiz, says that the coaches “vehemently deny” any of the allegations brought against them.
“They have dedicated their lives to the game they coach and to developing players through positive example and influence,” attorney Giana Ortiz said.
Aside from using racist and other derogatory terms aimed at players, investigators and high school student-athletes also claim that Collins and Allen didn’t follow concussion protocols and simply ignored player injuries.
Former freshman coach for Plano East High School, Aaron Reza, was already arrested earlier this month after being proven guilty of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, Wfaa reports. Court documents show a 17-year-old female student reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Reza three times in August of last year.
Now Plano East High School will have to deal with these allegations after just getting past Reza’s actions.
Witnesses say that the fight clubs were staged in the high school’s batting cages while the coaches were away for an annual conference. Collins and Allen denied having any knowledge of it when pressed by parents.
The investigation however, implies that everyone else–high school students and the Plano community alike–were well aware of the fight club.
In addition, parents first raised concerns dating all the way back to last spring. Some parents contacted district officials to address the rumors of the fight club and accusations of racist and other derogatory comments–which now have turned out to be true.
One specific case of derogatory abuse was aimed at an injured high school player with a broken back. Team mates of this player say that the coaches referred to the player as “brokeback mountain.”
Their expression had homophobic connotations as they referenced the popular movie featuring two gay men. And the gesture was insensitive towards the student’s injury.
The high school baseball players promoted the fight club on social media, and players returned to classrooms with bruised knuckles and black eyes.
One Plano East High School student gave testimony.
“During the fights, usually organized by the seniors each year, all players are pit against one another in fights with the little protection given by cheap boxing gloves. There was no backing out of the fight for fear of shame and humiliation by the others.”
On the other hand, the troubled high school coaches have some supporters. Some of the varsity players say that the case brought against them come from players who are upset about their lack of playing time–effectively using the coaches situation as a smear campaign against them, they claim.
Plano High School ISD officials declined to comment on the investigation’s findings as they already concluded the investigation in the Fall.
However, the high school gave a written statement noting that the accused coaches are no longer associated with the baseball program. And an interim head coach has already been selected, Joe Cravens.
“Training in regard to coach/athlete respect and sensitivity is embedded in topics and sessions that occur annually. Additional reinforcement related to teacher/student interactions will be covered during the August in-service training.”
[Image via Shutterstock]