Rutgers softball coach, husband accused of abusing players

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The coach of the Rutgers softball team and her husband, who is an assistant coach, have been accused of abusing players both physically and emotionally.

According to a report by NJ Advance Media, former player Erin Collins filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging that she and seven other players were abused by Coach Kristen Butler and her husband while they were on the team. Collins has since transferred to the University of Tennessee and is asking for her tuition back.

The allegations of abuse include regular punishments that included abusive conditioning drills, with at least two players saying they were pushed in the back to run faster. The players also say that they were physically abused at practice, including a drill where they say that they were intentionally hit by balls thrown by the assistant coach.

The players and their parents allege that they told senior Rutgers athletics officials about the abuse, including Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs and Deputy Director Sarah Baumgartner. But they say that the issues were never addressed.

This is not the first time that coaches associated with Rutgers Athletics have been accused of abusing players. Head basketball Coach Mike Rice left the team in 2013 after being accused of throwing balls at players and insulting them. Swimming Coach Petra Martin was accused of using bullying tactics to get results.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Milwaukee-based attorney who filed this latest complaint but did not get a response.

Hobbs said in a statement, “The concerns were reviewed and where remedial action was necessary, changes were made.” He also added that Marcus Smith, the volunteer coach, was separated from the team

“The well-being of our student-athletes is always my first priority, and we will continue to be vigilant in addressing any concerns across all of our programs,” Hobbs said.

Rutgers President Robert Barchi also issued a statement that said, “Rutgers is committed to a culture where nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

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