Big 12 News

Iowa State Women’s Soccer Coach Accused of Verbal Abuse, Body Shaming Players

NCAA Womens Soccer: College Cup

Iowa State women’s soccer coach Matt Fannon has been accused by several former players of verbally abusing and body shaming within the Cyclones’ program, according to a report from the Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

Since Fannon was hired at Iowa State in 2019, 17 players have either transferred, quit, or left the program and that is reportedly a result of the toxic environment that the coach has created in Ames.

During Fannon’s first two seasons at Iowa State, the Cyclones have compiled an 8-17-5 record, with the current team sitting at 3-9-4 with just one game remaining on the schedule.

 

According to CycloneFanatic, Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard and senior associate athletics director/sports administration Callie Sanders refused Register requests for interviews through an athletic department spokesman. Fannon also denied to respond to the Register’s comment request.

Just one former Cyclones player, Olivia Wee, went on record with the Register, but seven anonymous people from in and around the program gave testimony of Fannon’s behavior during his first two years in Ames.

 

All seven anonymous people confirmed the stories told by Wee, who says that Fannon bullied players and assistant coaches within the program. Three former athletes told stories of athletes crying in the locker room before and after practices. Two other players hoped the 2020 season would be canceled due to COVID-19 because of how Fannon was treating them.

Some of the allegations stemmed from mandatory weigh-ins before and after practices. Mandatory weigh-ins have come under significant scrutiny in recent years after athletes around the country have opened up about depression, anxiety, and eating disorders that were the result of body shaming culture in sports.

One of these allegations includes a story from former Bowling Green goalie Alyssa Abernot, the only other former player to go on the record in the report, in which Fannon told Abernot to get breast reduction surgery if she wanted to get on the field.

 

“He was like, ‘If you want to be successful here, you’ll do that, like get it today if you can,’ all this stuff,” Abernot told The Register. “He wasn’t really saying why. It was more like, ‘You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. That was kind of it.’”

Abernot then proceeded to have the surgery and was instructed by doctors to take off six weeks in order to recover. However, Fannon allegedly pushed her into doing bike exercises, which she believes caused an infection that required a second procedure.

Abernot filed a Title IX claim against Fannon, which was initially denied by Bowling Green, but was later confirmed.

While nothing has surfaced about the status of Fannon going forward, the allegations against him are horrendous and date back to his time at a previous employer. More news is likely to come in the days and weeks that follow, but if you want to read more on the situation, make sure to check out CycloneFanatic.

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