Questions on Assault Reporting, Formality, and Former UW-Whitewater Wrestling Coach Fader

Minor athletic-rules violations, no matter how widely reported, are trivial compared with assuring an open climate to report and address sexual assault and harassment (no matter how some try to change the subject).

A focus on a university’s small athletic discrepancies inadvertently (or intentionally) distracts from a more important focus on that university’s commitment addressing sexual assault and harassment.

I’ve posted on this topic previously. See, Assault Reporting, Formality, and Former UW-Whitewater Wrestling Coach Fader.

Prior news accounts of Coach Fader’s dismissal may be found at the Rockford Register Star (Wrestling coach seeks answers to dismissal) and (Update on Dismissal of Wisconsin Whitewater Coach Tim Fader).

There are also more recent stories at Channel 3000 and the Gazette (subscription req’d) about supposed athletic infractions in the UW-Whitewater wrestling program.

Behind both of the stories lies a UW-Whitewater self-reported review (embedded below at the end of this post) of the wrestling program.

I’ve several questions about the stories, and even more pressing questions about the federal harassment & abuse investigation of UW-Whitewater.


April 18, 2014. Report to Whitewater Police Department. By Fader’s account at the Rockford Register Star:

According to Fader, he received a phone call from the mother of a female student who had told her mom that she had been sexually assaulted by one of Fader’s wrestling recruits who was on campus for a visit. The recruiting visit had ended, but the recruit stayed in town for an extra night.
Fader did what he thought was the right thing by finding the recruit, talking to him, and taking him to the Whitewater police to make sure the incident was handled by the proper authorities.
When Fader received a return call from the mother of the alleged victim two days later, he thought it was all over. She told him that she should have never called him and that she was wrong about the incident. At that point, Fader believed the issue was over and all involved could move on.

May 1, 2014. U.S. Department of Education names UW-Whitewater as one of fifty-five four-years colleges in America under investigation for handling of sexual violence investigations. See, U.S. Department of Education Releases List of Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations.

(We’re a huge country; there are thousands of four-year schools in America.)

May 12, 2014. UW-Whitewater officials Drs. Matt Aschenbrener and Elizabeth Watson are “charged on May 12, 2014 to lead the investigation [Wrestling Recruitment Investigation], to report findings and make recommendations.” (See embedded investigation report, at the bottom of this post.)

May 15, 2014. The Janesville Gazette publishes a story on Coach Fader’s suspension (UW-W wrestling coach suspended).

The story refers to a memo from Chancellor Telfer sent earlier that week:

Telfer announced the actions in a message to faculty and staff Tuesday morning [May 13]. He said the actions came after an incident filed with Whitewater Police Department.

“On Monday [May 12], I was notified that the Whitewater Police Department is investigating an incident involving an adult-aged recruit for the wrestling team,” Telfer wrote. “This matter is ongoing and I can only share limited information at this time.”

(On May 16th, I posted Caution on Publishing About Criminal Investigations, responding to a jumbled, misleading Web account of Coach Fader’s administrative suspension that made him seem as though he might be the subject of a criminal investigation from April’s incident. Fader was not, himself, a criminal suspect.)

May 30, 2014. Wrestling Recruitment Investigation dated 5.30.14 completed for Chancellor Telfer.

June 2014. Fader is asked to resign. See, Wrestling coach seeks answers to dismissal.


1. The Wrestling Recruitment Investigation – at least as memorialized in the 5.30.14 report to Chancellor Telfer – produced no evidence of violence, harassment, or similar injury. Was anything omitted?

2. If no incidents were omitted, then are all the enumerated infractions no more than administrative ones?

3. Who (Chancellor Telfer, Athletic Director Amy Edmonds, someone else) decided to go beyond the Wrestling Recruitment Investigation’s recommendations and terminate (or demand the resignation of) Coach Fader? The Wresting Recruitment Investigation recommends seven modifications to team practices, but not one of them mentions, let alone requires, a resignation or termination. Who made that decision to demand dismissal?

4. On what basis – by what reasoning – did someone (Chancellor Telfer, Athletic Director Amy Edmonds, someone else) decide to dismiss Coach Fader (as the report does not recommend such action)?

5. Does the decision to go beyond the recommendations of the report’s authors (Drs. Aschenbrener and Watson) – who write that they conducted “over 50 interviews” and reviewed numerous documents – not call into question either their judgment in recommending too little or that of others who exceeded their recommendations?

6. Were all those who requested this wrestling recruitment investigation, who conducted it, and who were interviewed for it aware of the prior, nationally-published reports of federal investigations into possible Title IX violations, at least one of which involved UW-Whitewater?

7. Since the federal investigation into an incident of alleged sexual violence or harassment at UW-Whitewater was reportedly opened on 2.14.14, before the April 2014 recruiting incident, are those two events not separate?

8. If they are separate incidents (as seems very probable), then why conduct an audit into wrestling but — apparently – no similarly detailed investigation into other sports or campus activities?

9. Athletic Director Edmonds, in the Channel 3000 news report, says that

….all of the internal investigation recommendations have been implemented, including the consolidation of recruiting activities for all of its 20 sports programs on campus.

“This has bolstered all of our recruiting,” Edmonds said. “We’ve made sure everything is in one place now.”

What level of investigation did UW-Whitewater conduct into those other 19 programs?

Are there reports for those audits, if any were done?

10. Does Athletic Director Edmonds, Chancellor Telfer – or anyone – think that if one finds no more than technical violations in the wrestling program, that this lack of evidence assures, a priori, no more serious discrepancies elsewhere?

11. Does anyone on campus believe that a discussion of technical violations of sporting regulations matters as much as a climate of open discussion on harassment or violence?

12. There have been several stories about these recruiting violations, but why has there not been as much press attention to a safe climate on campus?

13. Can university officials not see that strong action on minor matters is less important than strong action and discussion on important maters?

It’s much easier to self-report about recruiting in the wrestling program than to commit to a leadership discussion of apparently separate and surely far greater concerns elsewhere.

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9 years ago

Thank you for writing this. It’s the right thing to focus on the bigger picture. Scapegoating one person this way was wrong and does nothing to help address more important issues.

Ayn Rand
9 years ago

It was wrong to ruin a career of a coach who tried to do the right thing.
They are selfish administrators that just want to look good.
I’m sorry to say but it turns out you were right about that.