Courtesy of Sam Rubin
As Yale continues to come to grips with the news that former head coach of the women’s soccer team, Rudy Meredith, allegedly accepted bribes to help non-soccer-playing applicants obtain “recruit” status in admissions, new allegations of misconduct have arisen regarding Meredith’s conduct outside of the scandal.
Two former Yale women’s soccer players — who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation — told the News that while pursuing a master’s degree at Ohio University, Meredith allegedly pressured members of the Yale women’s soccer team to not only edit his academic papers but also to write significant parts of them. Meredith, who started his tenure as Yale women’s head soccer coach in 1995, received his degree in recreation and sports science and coaching education in 2018 — the same year he resigned from his position for undisclosed reasons. Neither of the players who spoke to the News said that they took part in writing the papers.
According to one of the former players, team members brought their concerns to the Department of Athletics as well as University President Peter Salovey. Salovey allegedly received an anonymous letter from a member of the team describing what Meredith asked his players to do. Yale’s Human Resources & Administration Department then conducted interviews with Meredith and a few members on the team, according to the same player. Both sources told the News that after conducting the investigation, the athletics administration, headed at the time by former Athletics Director Tom Beckett, took no action against Meredith despite numerous complaints from team members that one of the sources said spanned many years. Beckett retired from his position as director in 2018. He has since been replaced by the current Athletics Director Vicky Chun.
“I don’t know how it didn’t become more of an issue because to me it was a clear abuse of power,” one of the former players told the News.
According to the former player, Meredith used his position as head coach to encourage players to write his papers. Players apparently felt compelled to do so because they felt it would gain them better treatment.
Another former player told the News that Beckett — who held the position of athletics director for 23 years before his retirement in June 2018 — did not take any action to address the concerns that players had. According to the player, neither Beckett nor any other administrators reprimanded Meredith. She claimed that this alleged lack of action allowed Meredith’s “unprofessional behavior to continue and an entrenched and unbalanced power dynamic to persist in the program.”
Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy declined to talk about the specifics of the allegations against Meredith, citing that Connecticut law prevents Yale from publically sharing “disciplinary information about employees.” Still, he emphasized in an email to the News that when the University receives reports of misconduct by employees, it carries out an investigation and takes “appropriate disciplinary action, which may not be apparent to persons other than the employee and the employee’s supervisors.”
“Yale followed its general practice in this case,” Conroy added.
Conroy said that Yale was “saddened,” as well as “angered to learn of [Meredith’s] alleged betrayal of this community and its values.”
“We are continuing to investigate his time here, and we will take all appropriate action necessary in light of what we find,” he wrote. “In considering what we say publicly about Mr. Meredith, we will balance the benefit of transparency with the baseline level of respect for privacy we owe every member of this community, and that we are compelled to uphold by law.”
Meredith, Chun, Yale’s General Counsel Alexander Dreier and representatives from Ohio University’s legal department did not comment on the allegations. Vice President for Human Resources & Administration Janet Lindner forwarded a request for comment to Conroy.
Before his resignation in November of last year, Meredith was the women’s soccer program’s winningest coach with 224 victories, including a personal best of 15 victories in the Bulldogs’ 2005 campaign. His accolades included the honor of Northeast Region Coach of the Year on three separate occasions and leading the Elis to the NCAA College Cup in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In 2005, the White and Blue claimed its first outright Ivy League title and reached the third round of the NCAA College Cup for the first time in the program’s history.
At the time of Meredith’s resignation, some of the players praised his management and tactics.
Forward and 2017 Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Year Michelle Alozie ’19 spoke of his personal support.
“Coach Rudy has been instrumental in fine-tuning me as a player,” Alozie said. “I remember after my freshman season, I had a meeting with the coaches, and Coach Rudy told me something like, ‘Michelle, I believe you can be a better player than you think. But to get there, it is going to be a lot of hard work, and I am going to have to get on you so that you can grow into the player I know you can be.’”
Following the team’s heyday in 2005, the team experienced a slump in form, only twice posting more than 10 wins in a season in the last 12 years. The Elis have had only one winning record over the last four years.
Adding to the trend of decline, recent graduates reported dissatisfaction with the coach.
“He didn’t put as much effort into his job as you would hope for from a head coach,” said a former player on the team in November, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. “He also struggled to motivate the team and connect with players in a way that would inspire us to play for him. … To put things in perspective, many players felt like they got worse over the four years playing at Yale.”
On March 12, federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice announced that they were charging Meredith with accepting bribes in exchange for granting applicants admission to Yale as recruited soccer players in what federal prosecutors are calling the biggest admissions scandal ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. According to unsealed DOJ documents, Meredith has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
Meredith solicited a bribe for $400,000 to admit one person as part of William Singer’s college admissions scam operation. Singer plead guilty on March 12 to money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and obstruction of justice for his role in a scheme that involved bribing coaches and exam proctors to get high school students into elite colleges. Meredith also attempted to get another applicant into Yale in exchange for $450,000 independent of Singer, which the FBI was listening in on. He then received $4,000 from an FBI-controlled bank account, which gave the authorities evidence of wire fraud. He has worked for the FBI as a cooperating witness — designated as “CW-3” in court documents — since April 2018.
His initial court appearance is scheduled for March 28.
This story was updated to reflect the one that ran in print on March 25.
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