STATEMENT FROM BARRY ALVAREZ:
A variety of allegations, made anonymously to the Badger Herald by several members of the UW women’s tennis team, were published by the Badger Herald last week on May 4. The allegations asserted that head coach Brian Fleishman’s “actions have put the players’ health at risk” and that Fleishman’s “strict limitations on what they eat and how they train has forced several girls to surrender to unhealthy lifestyles.” The allegations also assert that Fleishman himself “has issues with food” and that he has “inflicted serious physical and mental damage” on members of the team. Further, the allegations state that “certain players have battled with anorexia because of Fleishman’s constant focus on their diets.”
No UW athletics administrator had been made aware of these issues prior to last week. Nonetheless, when we were made aware of them, we took them very seriously and immediately began to look into the allegations. Members of our senior staff met individually with each of the women’s tennis student-athletes to give them an opportunity to share their perspectives on their experience with the program and to provide us with background or additional information relating to the allegations against Coach Fleishman that appeared in the Badger Herald.
The results of those individual meetings did not verify the seriousness of the allegations made to the Badger Herald. Based on that finding, Coach Fleishman has my support going forward.
Every one of our head coaches goes through an annual evaluation and review. That process is currently underway for many of our spring sports coaches, including Coach Fleishman. It is unrealistic to think that any of our coaches would come through an evaluation without an identification of areas they can work on to continue to improve their respective programs. I’m sure Coach Fleishman will be no different. But I am confident that Coach Fleishman’s actions do not match up with the allegations that were anonymously made public last week.