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July 8, 2016 — A cloud over Hanover

Today, it was announced that Amy Patton would be leaving her position of head women’s lacrosse coach at Dartmouth College.

Fowler had taken the Big Green to four Final Fours and the 2006 NCAA Division I championship game.

During her tenure with Dartmouth, Patton was able to attract and recruit a number of superb players, including goalie Devon Wills. She was also able to recruit the greatest goal-scorer in National Federation history, Sophie Turchetta.

Yet, there were these paragraphs inserted into a press release announcing her resignation:

This decision followed an inquiry that led college officials to conclude that Patton engaged in conduct inconsistent with the standards of Dartmouth Athletics and that change is in the best interest of the program.

The inquiry, which began in April in response to a grievance and expanded based on information that was received, included interviews with Patton, current and former team members, assistant women’s lacrosse coaches, and other athletic department and college staff. The inquiry was conducted by Megan Sobel, Senior Associate Director of Athletics for varsity sports and the division’s Senior Woman Administrator, and Catherine Lark, Director of College Risk and Internal Control Services.

If this sounds familiar, it sounds a little like the justification used by the University of Iowa to fire Tracey Greisbaum two years ago. And I also found it interesting that the names attached to the Dartmouth investigation were two women, as if to inoculate the school from accusations of gender bias.

Then again, given what I have seen from universities in their decisions as to whether to hire and fire coaches, Patton’s situation is the latest in which university administrators are looking to wrest back control of the roost because of abuses perpetrated by major football and men’s basketball programs.

Regrettably, too many successful women coaches are now being ousted as a result.

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