Fresno State’s lacrosse team drawing better crowds, fan support (and winning, too)
An independent review of the women’s lacrosse program at Fresno State, initiated after complaints from parents and former players about coach Jessica Gigilo and her operation of the program, found no evidence of NCAA rules violations, institutional policy violations or athletics department procedural violations.
“We have received the final independent investigatory report which found no violations of NCAA rules and no evidence of mistreatment of our student-athletes,” athletic director Terry Tumey said, in a statement. “We will continue to support coach Jessica Giglio as our head coach and together will be focused on providing positive championship experiences for our student-athletes.”
The review was conducted by Jason Montgomery, Melisa Meyler and Rick Evrard from the Syracuse, N.Y.-based law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King; a summary report was dated Jan. 25, 2019, but released by the university on Tuesday.
Bond, Schoeneck & King also handled an investigation into the strength and conditioning, training and medical staffs at Fresno State after a summer conditioning workout in 2016 where offensive lineman Shane Gama suffered from heatstroke and was hospitalized.
The university had denied a public records request from The Bee in September to inspect any exit interviews with women’s lacrosse student-athletes that might have shed light on the allegations, citing the ongoing investigation and confidentiality issues.
Among the complaints leveled at Giglio and the program according to BS&K: student-athletes were being treated unfairly, a low level of ethnic discrimination was occurring, instances of mental abuse had occurred and the health and safety of the women’s lacrosse student-athletes was not being adequately monitored.
The women’s lacrosse program since its inception in 2009 is just 27-103 and has never won more than two conference games in a season in going 8-63 in league play. Giglio is just 25-61 in seven seasons.
The Bulldogs open their season Sunday against Massachusetts Lowell
In the report, the Bulldogs women’s lacrosse coach made note that in her time at Fresno State there were several areas that she had not received adequate support from athletics administration, including travel budget and a high turnover among strength and conditioning staff.
But, according to the report, the review of the program did not turn up any evidence of a hostile environment in the women’s lacrosse program or psychological bullying by Giglio. Also, it did not find any instances where Giglio broke NCAA rules, university or athletics department policy.
“From the beginning, I believed that this thorough independent review of the Fresno State women’s lacrosse program would find no NCAA or university violations,” Giglio said, in a statement. “With this process now complete, I am excited to focus all time, efforts and energy on this 2019 team. We are moving forward with our sights set on this season that opens at home on Sunday.”