The Ole Miss Softball Coaches Accused of a Sex Scandal Have Been Cleared of All Charges

Well, this one didn't last long. 

You no doubt remember Carl's post about this sex scandal that appeared to rock Ole Miss softball:

The one where an assistant coach was accused of making sweet, sweet, inappropriate, unethical, Code of Conduct-violating love with one of her players, and the head coach was charged with handing out bribes in the form of "scholarship money" to keep it covered up. The one that included little colorful flourishes that separate the truly great sex scandals from the merely very good ones, such as:

Daily Mail - Assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder was allegedly romantically involved with a senior student-athlete on the team, who was dating another senior teammate at the time.

The alleged inappropriate relationship was discovered in July when the girlfriend found a text sent from Browder pointing to a relationship between her partner and their assistant coach.  

She then printed out screenshots of the text exchange and and taped them to the coach's computer in her office.

Well, it would appear this is another of those situations where even salacious, incriminating screenshots printed out by a jealous girlfriend/teammate and taped to a computer don't tell the whole story. Like the early episodes of a true crime show that lead you to totally believe in someone's iron-clad, air-tight guilt, there's always a twist. 

USA Today - Two Ole Miss softball coaches who were accused of inappropriate behavior including sexual misconduct and attempted bribes have been cleared by the school's Title IX office. 

The investigation began when a letter was sent to Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter describing an alleged relationship between assistant coach Katie Rietkovich Browder and a student-athlete on the softball team. Browder is married. The student-athlete was dating another member of the team.

Head coach Jamie Trachsel allegedly got involved by attempting to bribe both players with scholarship money to remain quiet.

A person familiar with the investigation told USA TODAY Sports that some of those who were involved declined to speak with the Title IX office.

"Following a comprehensive investigation by the university’s Title IX office, the anonymous allegations of inappropriate behavior by the softball staff are unsubstantiated. … " Carter said in a statement. …

"[T]hrough this extensive review, we discussed these anonymous claims with our players and all were unsubstantiated."

So that, it seems, is that. Even if you're tempted, as I am, to disbelieve anything said by any athletic director because the NCAA is rife with corrupt thieving weasels not burdened with instincts to do the right thing and who will say and do anything to keep their financial gravy trains running on the high speed Acela tracks, this sounds like the rare exception. 

The easy thing to do would be to shitcan these coaches without giving them a fair hearing. Then issue some high-minded sounding, virtue-signaling statement about upholding ideals and putting the safety of student athletes above all other considerations. Then lawyer up and brace for the unfair dismissal lawsuit. Due process is always the first thing to go when you're trying to save your phony baloney jobs. 

But instead, Ole Miss actually looked into it. And found a big nothingburger. And as much as we all enjoy a nice, juicy scandal about two consenting adults (allegedly) scissoring one another behind the backs of their significant others, when it all turns out to be untrue, we've just got to take that L and move onto the next scandal. 

Though, if we're being honest, we all know this exoneration of Coaches Rietkovich Browder and Trachsel won't get any play at all. Like the old saying goes, Bad News has been around the world while Good News is still putting its pants on. And "College Coach Believed to Be in Love Triangle with Players" is much, much more effective clickbait material than "College Coach Innocent." All we can really know for sure is, that whatever else happened here, that Ole Miss Softball program is in for a really, really awkward locker room dynamic for a while.