Former Oregon State volleyball players accuse coach of running an abusive program

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Brady Akins, Sports Editor

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include quotes from the university.


Oregon State University has recently concluded an investigation into Mark Barnard, the head coach of the Beavers’ volleyball program, after recent allegations of abuse have surfaced from former student-athletes within the program.

Allegations against Barnard, who will be approaching his fifth year as the head coach for the volleyball program, surfaced after former athletes who played for Barnard approached The Associated Press for interviews, as well as discussing the matter with the university.

In those interviews with The Associated Press, players alleged that Barnard would regularly push players to practice beyond their physical limitations and threaten to revoke scholarships for underperforming student-athletes. According to those interviews, Barnard’s alleged abuse led to multiple departures from the team, as well as leading two players to contemplate taking their own lives.

Steve Clark, the Vice President of Relations and Marketing for Oregon State University, was reached out to for comment on Barnard and the investigation surrounding the alleged abuse. Clark stated that the investigation was conducted by an external party who found “no violation of university policies.”

The rest of Clark’s statement is as follows:

OSU takes seriously all concerns and complaints of improper action involving its employees and engages in timely review of concerns brought to the university. Last winter, we were made aware of concerns, but no specific complaints were offered. Former OSU President Ed Ray and Equal Opportunity Access Executive Director Kim Kirkland met with a handful of parents and community members regarding these concerns. In response, the university conducted a full and impartial investigation using an external investigator into concerns that were shared.  All volleyball student-athletes were provided an opportunity to be interviewed and share their views of the program and any concerns. The investigation into these concerns found no violation of university policies. When an investigation is conducted, students and student-athletes are provided support from university departments and resources. The university disputes allegations reported citing punishment provided student-athletes during practice; reported student suicides resulting from the volleyball team’s environment; and improper provision of student-athlete scholarships and commitments by the coaching staff and OSU Athletics.”

We will continue to update this story as it continues to develop.


Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article published on July 30 was incorrect in listing Steve Clark’s official job title. The Barometer Sports team regrets the error.

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