A report released earlier today by Associated Press writer Eddie Pells details a host of abusive practices conducted by the Oregon State Volleyball program, centered around Head Coach Mark Barnard. According to the report, Barnard was regularly verbally abusive toward athletes, and would run practices beyond what would be physically safe. Two of the former players spoken to detailed how Barnard’s practices led them to have suicidal thoughts. One of them, Amya Small, attempted an overdose.
Barnard was also in the practice of threatening his players’ scholarship status, threatening to revoke scholarships if his performance expectations weren’t met. The culture at Oregon State appears to have given the program an exceptionally high rate of turnover, with six players having left the team since the start of 2019. The team has also weathered a high amount of serious injuries.
Barnard’s behavior was reported to the Athletic Department, and an investigation was done. The school did not find any wrong doing on Barnard’s part, but the neutrality of that investigation is called into question by Pells’s article. It appears Barnard may also have tried to silence and squash any reports about his behavior.
There is much more in the full article, including racist behavior from some of Barnard’s assistants. The university has yet to issue a response. This story will be updated as the situation develops.