Fresno State lacrosse cleared in private audit

Head coach Jessica Giglio. Photo courtesy Fresno State Athletics.

A recent independent review of Fresno State’s women’s lacrosse program concluded that no evidence of NCAA rules violations, athletics department procedural violations or institutional policy violations were found.

The audit, which was finalized Jan. 25, 2019, was initiated in September 2018 following complaints from former parents and former players about head coach Jessica Giglio.

For the audit, the university retained the services of Rick Evrard, Jason Montgomery and Melisa Meyler of the Collegiate Sports Practice Group of the law firm, Bond, Schoeneck & King (BSK), PLLC (Bond) to review the program’s policies, procedures and practices, in relation to the health and well-being of its student-athletes.

Allegations against the program included instances of the women’s lacrosse program being stagnant under Giglio’s leadership, student-athletes being treated unfairly, low level of ethnic participation, instances of mental abuse and the health and safety of the players not being adequately monitored.

Fresno State Athletic Director Terry Tumey released a statement on February 5 regarding the findings of the review.

“This review, which included confidential interviews of student-athletes and parents, did not find evidence of a hostile environment for student-athletes, nor did the review find any evidence of NCAA rules violations, institutional policy violations or athletic department procedural violations,” Tumey said in the release.

In 2016, an athletics program review was conducted by world-renowned expert in reconditioning and athletic development, Bill Knowles of HPSports. In the review, Knowles assessed conditioning, strength training, injury concerns and fitness assessment within the lacrosse program.

Knowles’ findings drew red flags when referencing concerns regarding Giglio’s approach toward training her athletes and using exercise testing as punishment. The report stated that the extremely high volume of training was not contributing to improvements and recommended that Giglio’s approach and dialogue with her athletes may need to be reviewed.

The review conducted by BSK in January concluded that the lacrosse program did not violate any NCAA or institutional policies, and that without any other prior complaints lodged against Giglio, the review was restricted to the alleged conduct and behavior through written communication.

Finally, the audit did not find evidence of a hostile environment within the program or “psychological bullying” by Giglio. Additionally, the review did not find any specific incidents in which Giglio’s actions were contrary to NCAA rules, university policies or other athletic department policies.

In the BSK review, Giglio reported that many of the situations described by the student-athletes and parents were factually accurate, but was surprised that the situations being reviewed were cited as violations or otherwise inappropriate behavior.

This season, the lacrosse team has shown improvements on the field from previous seasons as it is having its best season to date, finishing the month with a 7-4 overall record.

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