California football has been up and down over the past decade. The Golden Bears went 7-6 in 2018, but they have not been ranked since 2008. The team is now under more pressure as a woman is accusing football players and staff of sexual harassment, according to to ESPN.
Cal’s athletic department has referred the sexual harassment allegations to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. The university has responded after a former sports medicine intern in the athletics department talked about several sexual harassment allegations that involved Cal players, coaches and staff members.
“We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media,” Cal’s statement read. “Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided.”
Paige Cornelius medically withdrew from the university to improve her mental health. She claimed that she was sexually harassed by players, coaches and staff members while working as an intern. Someone on the coaching staff threatened Cornelius by saying that she would get fired if she did not do what he said.
She reached out to Cal’s athletic director Jim Knowlton, head football coach Justin Wilcox and other staff members about what she was going through, but none of them responded to her. Cornelius also said that a member of the current coaching staff followed her home after she blocked him on Instagram. He caught up with her to say that she would look good in a bikini.
He was not the only member of the coaching staff to harass Cornelius as players and other members of the coaching staff often did the same thing to her. Last year, the university investigated claims against former employee Mohamed Muqtar. He was fired in May, but the university might not follow the same process in this case.
While the case is different than what happened at Baylor in 2016, Cal might take a similar approach with this investigation. Cornelius’ accusations make it seem like Wilcox did not do anything to stop the harassment from going on. Cal might need to get a new head coach to clean up the program, but the Pac-12 school has not made a decision on Wilcox’s future just yet.