Editorial: Fedorjaka's departure shrouded with mystery, speculation

There is no doubt that Kathy Fedorjaka was successful in her 15 years as head coach of the women’s basketball team. Her three 20-win seasons and her two NCAA tournament appearances mark fantastic achievements for the coach of a school as small as this one. Her sudden “resignation,” therefore, brings up a lot of questions and even more speculation. Why would a coach—someone who has dedicated her livelihood to her players—quit in the middle of the season, the night before a game, without any explanation?

The timing of the series of events that unfolded on Friday, Jan. 13 seems to us to be more than suspicious, and the lack of stated motivation for her departure only adds to the campus-wide speculation. With that said, speculation within the University population rises per day due to the lack of information that we, as students, pay to receive.

Nobody can deny the massive sum of money that our parents, or in many cases students, send to the school each year so that we can enjoy the fantastic education offered here. But with that education, we also have paid for the right to know why the personnel—whose paychecks are made possible by our tuition and the donations of alumni and current and former parents—leave the school. Why, then, is this information hidden from students and alumni?

The University seems to have set a double standard in many ways with its handling of Fedorjaka’s sudden departure. First, it seems to have contradicted itself with the discourse that it spreads through our campus. President Bravman has said many times in correlation with the Campus Climate Report—specifically when talking about protecting the “brand” of the University—that high-functioning organizations do not sweep their problems under the rug. Why, then, in light of these intelligent words from our President, does the Athletics Department withhold information? By definition, they are covering their problems up, sweeping them under the rug.

The second double standard stems from what Athletic Director John Hardt told the players the night they found out about Fedorjaka’s resignation. He made sure to emphasize that they should refrain from talking extensively about the situation outside the locker room to avoid adding to the speculation, according to a few players that were at the meeting. If the Athletics Department is so worried about this speculation, then it should inform the students, the people upon whom its jobs rely, of what is really going on. This way, it could stop the speculation before it even gets started.

All in all, no matter what the reason for Kathy Fedorjaka’s resignation was, we at The Bucknellian believe that the manner in which the Athletic Department responded is flawed. We understand that the information is sensitive, but to have a well-established coach leave her team in the middle of the season without any warning or explanation seems to have only made the problem worse. If all sides had only waited until the end of the season, this situation would seem understandable, and the speculation would be almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, with the way the events panned out, everybody is asking the same question, reaching their own personal conclusion, and the result is staining the brand and legacy of not only this university’s women’s basketball program, but the entire Athletic Department and the University.

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