A Title IX investigation into a UC Irvine water polo player accused of inappropriately touching two opponents during a match last month has sparked outrage over the precedent it might set in the sport.
A pair of Loyola Marymount players allege that UC Irvine redshirt sophomore Nina Flynn touched their private parts during a Feb. 16 matchup. UC Irvine suspended Flynn a week later, but she was allowed to return to the pool on March 10 while university’s Title IX investigation continues.
An attorney for Flynn denied the allegations in a statement to the Orange County Register last week.
“Nina maintains she is not responsible in any way for the allegations and that after with [the] Title IX [office] suspension was lifted and she was allowed to return to the pool while the investigation continues,” Alison P. Saros said.
Flynn led the Anteaters with four goals in their 11-8 win against Loyola Marymount last month. UC Irvine was ranked No. 6 in the nation in latest Collegiate Water Polo Association poll.
A GoFundMe started by a UC Irvine water polo parent has raised $27,900 over the past few weeks to support Flynn’s legal defense, already surpassing its $25,000 goal. The fundraiser claims that the Anteaters are “determined to not only fight for Nina’s innocence, but also for the integrity of water polo.”
“If a Title IX investigation becomes the forum for alleged game time transgressions, chaos to all water polo programs will result,” GoFundMe organizer David Tedesco wrote in the fundraiser’s description.
Tedesco argues that broad definitions of Title IX violations should not be strictly applied to water polo matches that involve a high degree of physicality.
“A violation under the applicable Title IX Regulations only requires the intentional touching of a Complainant’s intimate body(s) without consent, whether clothed or unclothed,” Tedesco wrote. “An intimate body part is defined as the genitals, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks. There are no exceptions. With a definition so broad, every water polo game, male or female, is full of such Title IX violations.
“Based upon these accusations, UCI could expel Nina from UCI and refer the matter for criminal prosecution, or exclude her from the UCI women’s water polo team, among other sanctions.”
Flynn was an All-American Honorable Mention last year. Her younger sister, Jenna, is a freshman water polo player at Stanford and current member of the U.S. National Team.
The one thing that is lacking in every comment and article is a lack of empathy or understanding for the two women that were allegedly inappropriately touched. I find THAT absurd and shameful. I don’t understand why the majority of people interested in this investigation are trying to find ways to exonerate Nina.
As a water polo coach, there are some girls that I tentionally do things like that to make other girls uncomfortable. My sister broke a girls thumb that would not stop grabbing her inappropriately. She warned her that she would hurt her if she did not stop grabbing her but the girl kept doing it. However, my sister is much stronger than most girls and can defend herself.
This is 100% true and Nina Flynn is known for this exact style of defense. A very disturbing story about how Flynn removed a tampon from a girl during a game has circulated through the water polo community for years. Regarding the LMU accusations, the game footage that keeps getting referenced wouldn’t show any under water foul play. I am glad to hear that Title IX is seriously investigating these accusations.
I was told this story on the deck at a water polo game and it was being sold to me that Nina was in the right and it’s just ridiculous, but I thought no Loyola is D1 these players know about “appropriate” grabbing. We had just played a team that plays like this, does things illegally to get you off your game. I think coaches of club teams and USA water polo needs to have a serious discussion about why this is being taught, bc I do believe Nina didn’t come up with this on her own. She was taught or told this is what you can do to win. It’s disgusting! I’m glad they reported it
Thank you for commenting. The water polo community is trying to sweep this issue and investigation under the rug and it needs to be out and consequences received.
Looks like some got nothing better todo but wine. Things like these used to happen a lot in sports.happens all over the world to both sexes. It’s comes with the territory. People need to get over themselves.
I need more info to comment , a video of incident would go viral
I saw this yesterday and had to come back today because I was thinking it had to be an April Fool’s joke. But, alas, it apparently is not.
I had this happen to me when I was 16. I was playing up in men’s division because my club was lacking players for that game. As soon as the game started and I swam to mark my opponent, he pinched me ‘down there’ with real precision (he’d definitely done this before) and I guess his goal was to get in my head, like an assert dominance kind of thing? I later found out he was lithuanian and I think this kind of conduct is the unfortunate progression of the european school of water polo where they learn all the tricks to gain an advantage.
There should definitely be a conversation around what’s unacceptable in water polo, conduct which… Read more »
ive been grabbed, punched and bloody underwater. This is part of waterpolo
The entire sport is based on cheating- how to grab, hold, get an advantage over their opponents any way possible. Worst part, the coaches teach it.