According to a report from The Kansan, seven members of the Jayhawk women’s rowing team have been suspended from competition because they violated athletic department rules. How the athletic department has handled the situation raises questions.  

The article states that the rowers created fake Instagram accounts, which is against rules set by the Kansas athletic department. The rowers were suspended late in March once the accounts came to the attention of team staff.  

While the pair of rowers acknowledge that they broke the rules by having social media accounts under aliases, they believe that Kansas Athletics is taking an unneeded amount of time in the investigation process. They also believe there has been a severe lack in communication between the coaches and the rowers involved in the investigation.

In an email sent to the seven rowers on April 12 by Kansas coach Carrie Cook-Callen and provided to the Kansan, the rowers were accused of violating section 501 of the Kansas Athletics Policies and Procedures Manual. Among several other prohibited behaviors on social media that include showing use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs on social media, section 501 of the manual states, “I will not create fake or alias social media accounts. I understand that any information placed on any social media site is a reflection of me, my team, Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas.”  

The social media scandal highlights larger issues in the program since Cook-Callen took over from long-standing coach Rob Catloth at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Since becoming head coach, Cook-Callen made several adjustments to the team contract that must be signed by all rowers at the start of the season. Adjustments range from not being allowed to own aliased social media accounts to not being allowed to wear eye masks while on airplanes.  

1. Who knew rowing was a thing at Kansas? And 2. Why are these girls setting up fake IG accounts? Being on the rowing team sounds terrible.