Stanford softball’s collapse first became evident at the end of the 2014 season, when a faction of the team presented athletic director Bernard Muir with sweeping allegations against 18-year head coach John Rittman — allegations that have since been disputed by at least half of the team. A group of parents and former players supported those allegations, which also implicated Rittman’s assistants and the team’s trainers. Just 18 days after that contingent met with Muir, Rittman resigned.
Of the 213 athletes from 25 varsity sports that responded to a survey conducted by Psych 78Q: The Mental Health of Collegiate Athletes, 83 percent wished that their team had a sports nutritionist, 73 percent said they wanted a sports-specific psychologist and only about 40 percent agreed that they felt comfortable approaching their coach with questions and concerns. The Emotional Well-Being and Assessment of Campus Resources Survey — initiated by senior rower Christina Bax — led to a presentation to various members of the Athletic and Psychiatry Departments and the AARC on how the student-athlete experience could be improved.