By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor
Hutchinson Community College Athletic Director Josh Gooch said that he was aware of the recent news stories regarding accusations that football coach Rion Rhoades allegedly displayed racism towards black players, and Gooch said he met with some football players and coaches to discuss the allegations.
Gooch, in an email response, said he could not comment on the meeting because it was a “personnel-related matter.”
The Collegian has contacted some HutchCC football players about the accusations, but none have been willing to provide on-the-record comments.
The Collegian’s policy is not to use anonymous sources unless a person’s physical safety is at risk. The Collegian uses only named sources otherwise, for credible and ethical purposes.
“Hutchinson Community College will not tolerate any form of discrimination. We have a robust nondiscrimination environment,” Gooch said.
He also pointed out that there is a “Notice of Nondiscrimination” at the bottom of the college’s main web page, HutchCC.edu.
Rhoades has been the Blue Dragons’ coach since Dec. 2006. Gooch came with Rhoades as an assistant and left in 2010 to become the head football coach at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. Gooch returned a year later as an assistant coach and became an AD on July 1, 2015.
Gooch was asked if anyone had lodged a formal complaint against Rhoades – or any football coach – regarding conduct toward players or assistants of any race. He said he could not comment again because it is a personnel-related matter.
Gooch said that if a player or athlete at HutchCC feels he or she has been subjected to racism by a coach or teammate, there are options to take.
“Jake Gunden is the College Equity and Compliance officer,” Gooch said. “Any individual who feels they have suffered discriminatory incidents should contact Mr. Gunden, and he will provide the appropriate guidance on how the individual should proceed and will be the college’s contact.”
A look at every current athletic roster at the college indicates that all 12 teams are multi-racial.
“Athletics enriches and enhances this diversity and our college community,” Gooch said. “This diversity was recently highlighted in a University Business article in which Hutchinson Community College was featured. Our coaches recruit, train, and mentor all of our athletes no matter their ethnicity, religion, or country of origin. HutchCC athletics adds depth and richness to the diversity tapestry of Hutchinson Community College.”