Former San Jose State sports medical director Scott Shaw was found responsible for at least five sexual abuse allegations from former and current members of SJSU women’s athletic teams during multiple state Title IX investigations, according to USA Today. Shaw retired in September 2020 after the university reopened an investigation into the 2009 complaints of his inappropriate behavior.
This news comes more than a decade after 17 San Jose State athletes first reported Shaw in 2009. At the time, current head swim and dive coach Sage Hopkins gathered their accounts and reported them to the athletic department, administration and campus police.
In 2010, SJSU reviewed the athletes’ claims and decided Shaw was not guilty of any misconduct. They claimed his methods of what he called “pressure point” therapy were an acceptable and scientific treatment for muscle injuries. Shaw continued acting as the sports medicine director and faced no punishment for 10 years.
During that time, Hopkins continued to talk with the administration and he re-reported the allegations. In 2019 he put together a document that described the athletes’ allegations against Shaw, the school’s response, and what he believes was the school’s retaliation against himself for re-reporting the allegations. The document was nearly 300 pages long and was sent to members of the university, the Mountain West Conference, and NCAA officials.
Steve O’Brien, a former member of the SJSU athletic department, described one instance of the school’s alleged retaliation against Hopkins. O’Brien was fired in March after disobeying an order from university president Marie Tuite to discipline Hopkins and another employee. He told USA Today he believed Tuite’s instructions were in response to Hopkins re-reporting the Title IX violation allegations against Shaw.
“I’m so thankful for Sage Hopkins and the perseverance he showed in advocating for all student-athletes, not just his own,” former SJSU swimmer Caitlin Macky told USA Today. “And it is my opinion that he deserves an immediate apology from the university.”
USA Today has reported that the findings of the state Title IX investigations stated Shaw’s physical therapy “lacked medical basis, ignored proper protocols and violated the system’s sexual harassment policies.” President of the U.S. Council for Athlete’s Health James Borchers deemed Shaw’s treatment methods “improper” and “questionable in the most conservative manner.”
In the state’s investigations, overseen by the California State University System, two current athletes back up the claims of those who testified in 2009 with their own allegations against Shaw for “inappropriate touching,” according to USA Today.
Shaw was hired by San Jose State in 2006 and has been their sports medicine director since 2008.