MaChelle Joseph responds to Georgia Tech’s allegations

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CORAL GABLES, FL – FEBRUARY 26: Georgia Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph looks on during a women’s college basketball game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the University of Miami Hurricanes on February 26, 2017 at Watsco Center, Coral Gables, Florida. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 75-70. (Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The former head coach has released a lengthy response to the independent report that the school used to justify her firing

A day after the independent investigation by Littler Mendelson P.C. Employment and Labor Law Solutions Worldwide, used by Georgia Tech as their claimed justification to fire former women’s basketball head coach MaChelle Joseph, was made public, Joseph and her legal representation have responded.

The school is alleging that Joseph created a “toxic” environment, one rife with verbal and mental abuse. Joseph, in contrast, is alleging that the school sought out a reason to fire her due to her raising Title IX concerns, citing inferior treatment from the administration in contrast to their male counterparts, laying out a timeline of her concerns that predates the investigation against her and, Joseph says, was the reason an investigation of her happened at all.

High Post Hoops has emailed Georgia Tech for a response to Joseph’s response, and will update here if and when we receive one.

Joseph lays out the timeline of her complaints and the investigation

After initially logging complaints about potential Title IX issues in November of 2018, Joseph notes that her treatment from the school began to change in conjunction with those complaints. Joseph claims she took issue with “the significant disparities in salary allocation for assistant coaches; funding for publicity and marketing; the condition of the locker room; and the methods of travel.” In addition, she also notes that the school’s senior women’s administrator was terminated from her position.

“Instead of engaging me in a good faith discussion about my concerns, the Institute, under the *redacted* Athletic Department *redacted* leadership has attempted to silence me — terminating the former Senior Woman Administrator (“SWA”) who also had advocated for change, mocking me for repeatedly raising these issues, angrily accusing me of “attacking” the school or men’s athletics with my complaints, and vowing to “get rid” of me. Over the past three years, and in response to my complaints of discrimination, certain members of the Athletic Department…have subjected me to pattern of ongoing retaliation and harassment, baselessly accusing me of wrongdoing and attempting to interfere with my team and my players.”

On November 21, 2018 after it became clear that the retaliatory conduct would not stop, my lawyer sent a letter to *redacted* notifying him that she had concerns that GT was discriminating and retaliating against me in violation of several federal and state laws, and invited a discussion to resolve the escalating hostility toward me. My lawyer received no response from anyone at Georgia Tech. Instead of working with me to address these concerns, the Institute has, since that time, undertaken a course of conduct intended to isolate and disparage me and ultimately end my employment.

Joseph then told of a meeting that occurred in February, in which a person in a leadership position presided over a meeting in which two members of Joseph’s staff engaged in “blatantly insubordinate behavior.” She noted that the other staff members present were so disturbed by the lack of support from the high-level official that they filed complaints with the Human Resources department.

Instead of taking the complaints seriously, Joseph claims that the complaint was passed down to a newer member of the administration, who, when hired, was given the instructions to “get MaChelle under control.”

The next day, Joseph filed a formal complaint outlining her concerns of retaliation directed towards her.

She then claims that the school failed to notify her that the NCAA had cleared her and the program of some rules violations that they had been investigating, something that her contract renewal was contingent on.

Joseph then claims the school began searching for other reasons to terminate her, including the random drug testing of her two best players.

Presumably realizing that it could no longer postpone contract renewal discussions, GT then embarked on an effort to interfere with my relationship with my players and set the stage for my eventual termination. On February 12, 2019, who I had recently complained to HR had been insubordinate, notified me that two of my best players had been selected for drug testing. Although GT policy is to randomly select players for drug testing via an automated program, the likelihood that the Institute’s automated system would have picked two players from the same team, let alone the two best players on the same team, is incredibly low to nearly impossible. While *redacted* stated that these players were selected because they were not 18 when they started at the Institute, they had both turned 18 five months earlier, and could have been tested at any point since that time. This unnecessary and disruptive inquiry made my two best players feel targeted and caused them unnecessary anxiety at the height of the season.

She also points out that the school attempted to renege on an agreement to let a sophomore player move off campus, something she alleges that the men’s team is allowed to do often. Only after her lawyer intervened did the school relent.

The attendance of two administrators that did not normally travel with the team on a trip to Virginia also raised concerns for Joseph, especially after a player seen speaking with them became withdrawn and distant towards her. She says that she then met with the player on February 25, along with one of her graduate assistants who was close to the player, to let her know that that “we were three people who cared about each other and that we were there to help her.”

It was that same day that Joseph was made aware of the investigation.

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