Fired cheerleading coach didn’t shun ousted assistants, Ohio State email says

November 27, 2013 by  
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Encarnacion Pyle

The Columbus Dispatch

Wednesday November 27, 2013 6:24 AM

Even after two of her assistant coaches were fired in May for sexual harassment, Ohio State
University’s head cheerleading coach still exposed her students to them — showing a “pattern of
poor judgment and ineffective leadership,” records released to
The Dispatch show.

Ohio State officials fired Lenee Buchman, 44, on Monday, but they didn’t say why.

However, an email to Buchman from OSU athletic director Gene Smith released last night reveals
that Buchman took the team to a camp run by former assistant coach Dana Bumbrey in August.

Bumbrey had lost his job in late May after cheerleaders on the team told OSU investigators that
he had made inappropriate remarks to female cheerleaders, such as telling them they “always have
their legs spread.”

“Though I know the camp was not run by Ohio State, you took our students and brand there with
you,” Smith wrote in the email that was sent on Friday.

Buchman also failed to ask former assistant coach Eddie Hollins to leave Ohio State grounds when
he showed up at a practice in September. Hollins also had lost his job in May after he sent
sexually explicit text messages to one of the male cheerleaders and engaged in other questionable
behavior, such as tapping the guys on the testicles.

“When an assistant that has been fired for sexual harassment shows up at team practice, it is
obvious what is expected of a head coach,” Smith said in his email.

Buchman couldn’t be reached for comment last night.

Earlier this year, Ohio State had ordered Buchman to attend sexual-harassment training after she
failed to report that former cheerleader Cody Ellis had told her that Hollins had sent him several
sexually explicit text messages.

The university later received two anonymous tips to OSU’s ethics hot line, which touched off the
investigation against Bumbrey and Hollins.

This past summer, Ohio State officials also kicked Ellis, 22, of Bucyrus, off the cheerleading
squad for allegedly having a bad attitude, said his lawyer, John Camillus. Ellis filed a complaint,
saying Buchman had retaliated against him for making the initial accusations against Hollins, but
OSU officials determined on Oct. 31 that there was insufficient evidence to support Ellis’
claim.

In his email, Smith said he and another administrator reviewed the claims and agreed with the
report’s findings.

“Based on all of the facts, we are both persuaded that the student’s past behavior — including
persistent derogatory and offensive conduct toward teammates and others, the student’s negative
attitude, and other misconduct — all amply support the student’s dismissal from the team,” he wrote
of Ellis.

Camillus said Ellis’ behavior wasn’t any worse than any of the other members’ of the cheer
squad, and he didn’t do anything that warranted his being kicked off the team.

“What are the chances of the one cheerleader who was kicked off the team being the driving force
behind the investigation that led to the firing of the two assistant coaches?” he asked.

epyle@dispatch.com

@EncarnitaPyle

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