San Jose State Reinvestigating Trainer After 2009 Complaints By Swimmers

San Jose State University is re-opening an investigation into a school athletic trainer accused of inappropriately touching female athletes on the swimming & diving team.

USA Today reports that in 2009, 17 members of the women’s swimming & diving team gave accounts of inappropriate behavior by Scott Shaw, the school’s director of sports medicine. Swim coach Sage Hopkins compiled the accounts into a file nearly 300 pages long and notified campus police in 2009, but no charges were ever brought against Shaw.

In the file, Hopkins also alleges that school officials retaliated against him and his program for bringing the complaints against Shaw. Hopkins submitted the file to the school’s Title IX office in 2018, and the school reopened the investigation last year, per USA Today.

Athletes say Shaw was often alone with athletes for treatment. USA Today cites four former San Jose State swimmers who say Shaw touched their breasts or groins, sometimes under their bras or underwear. The USA Today story also cites two athletes in other sports who said they had similar experiences with Shaw.

A San Jose State investigation at the time cleared Shaw of wrongdoing.

According to the story, there have been no new allegations against Shaw since 2009. But the school’s president, Mary Papazian, said the school reopened the investigation in 2019 when she heard about the allegations for the first time. Papazian took office at San Jose State in 2016.

Shaw declined to comment to USA Today, but his attorney denied any wrongdoing on his part, and wrote a cease-and-desist letter to Hopkins, accusing the swim coach of trying to ruin Shaw’s reputation. He is not treating athletes during the reopened investigation, per USA Today.

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Former Coach Swimmer Hybrid
2 years ago

This feels like a great example of why we shouldn’t handle abuse claims within the organizational structure of universities, schools, teams, or the governing bodies at various levels of the sport. University officials, for example, are not disinterested third-parties, they have other priorities including protecting the reputation of the school. It doesn’t make for a fair investigation. Even Safe Sport is still part of that – Safe Sport may talk a good game but at the end of the day, it’s there to protect the reputation of the USOC.

I applaud Coach Hopkins for the tremendous amount of work he clearly put into trying to protect his swimmers. And who knows, perhaps the internal investigation was fair and complete. But… Read more »

2 years ago

Thank you Sage. We are lucky to have you as a coach.

2 years ago

Thank you, Sage, for standing up for your athletes!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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