Auburn banned Corey Myers over evidence of improper relationships

— -- Two days before the sudden retirement of Auburn softball coach Clint Myers last summer, his son, former associate head coach Corey Myers, was banned from the Auburn campus in a strongly worded letter from the university's Title IX office.

"We have determined there is sufficient evidence ... to conclude that you violated the policy prohibiting 'pursuing or engaging in romantic relationships' with more than one student whom you supervised or taught while you were employed as associate head coach of the softball program," wrote Kelley Taylor, Auburn's Title IX coordinator, in a letter dated Aug. 21, 2017, and obtained last week by Outside the Lines.

"We have considered the nature of the violations, which we found to have occurred with more than one student and over an extended period, and have determined that the appropriate sanction is that you are not eligible for rehire by the university at any time," the letter states. "You are banned from campus property and may not attend any university events. Further, you are forbidden from attending any Auburn University softball-related activities or events, whether on- or off-campus."

The letter indicated that Corey Myers had been under investigation since fall 2016, but at that time, Auburn Title IX staff members "found insufficient evidence to conclude the policy was violated."

Although the letter concluded that Corey Myers engaged in inappropriate behavior with multiple students, the university has rejected an assertion that the former associate coach's actions created a hostile environment for other players.

Though she had no inappropriate relationship with Myers, former Auburn softball player Alexa Nemeth filed a Title IX complaint against the university on May 31, 2017, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment that affected the entire team. According to Nemeth's complaint, coach Clint Myers "knowingly let his son Corey Myers have relations and pursue relations with multiple members of the team."

On Oct. 25, Taylor informed Nemeth in a letter that the Title IX office's investigation had produced a finding of "non-responsibility" for Corey Myers. It stated that there was sufficient evidence to "support a finding that unwanted sexual conduct occurred" with other members of the team but not enough evidence to show that Myers' conduct "created a hostile environment for you."

Nemeth has appealed the finding of non-responsibility on numerous procedural grounds, alleging that investigators interviewed only four witnesses, three of whom were acknowledged in the investigators' report to be "very loyal to the Respondent's family."

Clint Myers announced his retirement on Aug. 23, citing in a statement "the importance of spending quality time with my wife, my children and my grandchildren."

On Aug. 26, ESPN reported that Corey Myers had been under investigation by Auburn since September 2016, and that his resignation on March 30 was prompted by players presenting evidence to officials in Auburn's athletic department of an inappropriate relationship with one of their teammates. In his resignation letter, Corey Myers wrote that he could "hopefully return to this great University in the future."

When reached by phone on Monday, Corey Myers declined to comment about the letter banning him from Auburn. He did, however, speak about a letter he wrote to Auburn's Title IX office in answer to Nemeth's appeal, and took issue with the language that found "unwanted sexual conduct had occurred."

"I wrote that I didn't like the way that that was written and hoped that the appellant person would word it differently," he said. "But I was glad to be found non-responsible."

According to both Nemeth and Myers, an arbitrator has been selected for her appeal, and a final ruling is expected soon.

"I just look forward to getting this over with," Nemeth said. "The process has taken a really long time. I'm looking forward to not having to deal with Auburn's Title IX office again."

Taylor, Auburn's Title IX coordinator, wrote in an email that her office doesn't "publicly comment on specific personnel issues involving a violation of university policy."

Former Auburn players have alleged in prior published reports that Corey Myers often returned to the university and its softball program after his resignation, until players confronted his father in a team meeting.

Auburn is the second softball program from which Corey Myers has been formally banned. When Clint Myers was coaching at Arizona State University, his son served as a volunteer coach before being prohibited from serving "in any paid or unpaid capacity in any role with the women's softball program," in a letter sent to his father by then-ASU athletic director Lisa Love in January 2011.

The concerns over Corey Myers at Arizona State were not about inappropriate relationships with players but rather about his use of the program to further his business interests and serving as a volunteer coach without permission, for which ASU self-reported an NCAA violation.

When Clint Myers became Auburn's head coach in 2013, he hired Corey as assistant coach and thanked the university "for giving me and my family this Alabama adventure." Corey Myers was promoted from assistant coach to Auburn's associate head coach in 2016.

On Nov. 3, Jay Jacobs resigned as Auburn's athletic director after months of reports of violations and lawsuits involving not only the softball program, but also track and field, baseball, football and basketball, including the arrest of assistant coach Chuck Person on federal charges stemming from an FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball. Jacobs is set to leave Auburn on June 1 or when the university finds a replacement.

Clint Myers won two national championships at Arizona State and took Auburn to the Women's College World Series finals against Oklahoma in 2016. Auburn replaced him with former James Madison coach Mickey Dean on Sept. 14.

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