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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Community Reacts to Second Major Report on Mental Health Within Colgate University Women’s Lacrosse Program

Colgate Athletics

This is a developing story. Follow updates on Women’s Lacrosse and Kathy Taylor from The Colgate Maroon-News here.

*Editorial content warning: This story contains mentions of self-harm and attempted suicide.

In an article published by Lohud, a part of the USA Today Network, on March 7, senior Catie Lang, a former member of the Colgate University women’s lacrosse team, detailed her experience of a severe mental health crisis that hit its peak during her sophomore year at Colgate.

Lang’s story marks the second time in a two-year period that the experiences of former Colgate women’s lacrosse players have been reported on by non-local publications. In a March 2023 report by the Democrat & Chronicle (D&C), former athletes and alumnae of the women’s lacrosse program brought forth allegations of extreme coaching tactics, including “bullying” and “abuse,” by Head Coach Kathy Taylor, as reported by the Maroon-News.

The 2023 D&C report followed an independent investigation by Colgate University into Taylor’s coaching throughout the summer of 2022. The investigation was conducted in response to a request from a New York-based law firm that contacted University officials in March 2022 on behalf of players and their families. Following the investigation, it was announced that Taylor would remain in her position.

While Lang remained on the team throughout the 2022-23 season, she eventually left the program in August 2023.

Lang opened up to Lohud about “clashes with leadership” during her time on the team, including instances of inappropriate comments about weight and handling of struggles with both mental health and physical injury.

One month after the story’s release, The Colgate Maroon-News sat down with Catie Lang to discuss what led Lang to tell her story as well as how her Colgate experience has changed following her departure from the team.

Lohud reported that Lang’s anxiety disorder worsened throughout her time on the team, leading her to engage in acts of self-harm and attempt to take her life. In a time of crisis, Lang turned to the leadership available to her, including Taylor and others in the athletic department.

“I felt that these adults are the ones that are supposed to be there to help me,” Lang told Lohud. “If I was going to have a cry for help, I would think that they [would] be the ones to take it most seriously.”

Lohud reported that Lang “doesn’t hold Colgate or Taylor responsible for her mental health issues,” but that the former student-athlete felt University officials were “ill-equipped to help a young person in a crisis.”

“I was struggling,” Lang told Lohud. “It’s just that they, one, didn’t help and, two, added a lot more stress and anxieties.”

Taylor did not respond to Lohud’s repeated requests for comment for their article. Colgate University issued a statement to Lohud, which was attributed to Vice President and Director of Athletics Yariv Amir.

“The physical and mental health of students is of paramount importance at Colgate,” the statement read. “This includes our student-athletes. Our students are advised and reminded to seek services, and Colgate provides mental health support to all students — available 24 hours a day. With student-athletes, this is made expressly clear during our student-athlete orientation, in additional outreach sent to students throughout the semester and in regular conversations with students.”

Lang explained to the Maroon-News that she initially reached out to Lohud with her story while she was still an active player on the team, following the community reaction to the March 2023 report.

One of the main responses was that no one on the team was ‘causing these allegations,’” Lang told the Maroon-News. “But I was always saying that they would be on the team if it wasn’t for [these allegations]. So I was like, ‘Okay, I want to put this out because I’m on the team, so maybe [people will] actually believe it or care.’”

After months of working with Lohud and waiting as the story was passed from one author to another, Lang ultimately decided she would not remain on the team any longer for the sole purpose of being an active player at the time of publication.

“Why put myself through that just so that an article makes more sense?” Lang told the Maroon-News.

Eight of the nine players in Lang’s class have left the team, with Lang’s departure in the fall of 2023 being the most recent.

The Maroon-News contacted several current players on the women’s lacrosse team spanning multiple class years regarding the Lohud article; at the time of publication, no player offered a comment.

Following the release of her story, Lang shared that she has received support from fellow Colgate students, but told the Maroon-News that the University’s lack of response was “disheartening.”

“When it comes to student responses, there’s been an overwhelming sense of support. So even though Colgate hasn’t been there, I don’t really regret what I did,” Lang told the Maroon-News. “Strangers have reached out to me, peers have reached out to me, people that I’ve run into but are kind of acquaintances — they reached out. That sense of support has been awesome and feels good.”

Colgate University issued a statement to the Maroon-News in response to a request for comment.

While the University will not comment with respect to individual students, there have been no new concerns raised by current student-athletes since they were first raised years ago,” the statement read. “We continue to provide increased coaching support and oversight for the Women’s Lacrosse program.”

Taylor declined to comment in response to the Maroon-News’ request.

Senior Jeff Woodward, a member of Colgate’s men’s basketball team, shared his reaction to the March 7 article.

“I think it’s an incredibly brave and powerful thing to do what [Lang] did,” Woodward said. “I think it can only help people feel more comfortable in sharing their own stories and recognizing that this is not a one-off experience, but [an ongoing] struggle with mental health, especially in athletics. […] It was definitely a powerful story, and it was definitely one that needed to be told.”

Woodward serves as his team’s representative in the Colgate Wellness Advocates program, an affinity group under Colgate Athletics composed of student-athletes that aims to “promote the overall health and wellness of student-athletes and address related concerns affecting their population,” according to Colgate Athletics.

The group meets at least once a month, according to Woodward, with one of their current primary focuses being to “stamp out the stigma of mental health” within student-athletes.

“For any high school, college, professional — any level of athletics, the mental and physical health of the athletes should be of the utmost priority,” Woodward said. “Not only because it will obviously impact the performance of these athletes on the field or court or wherever, but [also because] every athlete is a human being, and they deserve to be physically and mentally well.”

Fifth-year Rachel Carney, a member of the Colgate softball team and president of Colgate Wellness Advocates, echoed Woodward’s sentiments surrounding the struggles of student-athletes.

“What we do as student-athletes at such a prestigious university is difficult, and I think it’s horrible that the place we use as stress relief ends up negatively contributing to the mental health of some of our student-athletes,” Carney said. “Being a student-athlete comes with a ton of pressure. My coaching staff is incredibly supportive, and I still struggle mentally and often feel overwhelmed trying to balance school and athletics. I empathize with those athletes [who] do not have a supportive coaching staff and have to face that extra battle.”

Since leaving the team this past August, Lang shared that she has been able to spend more time with friends, enjoying meals in town, taking day trips off-campus and working her local job.

“It’s really made senior year the best one because I just have more agency over my life,” Lang told the Maroon-News.

Lang heads into her final month at Colgate ahead of her graduation in May. Taylor remains head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, which holds a 1-11 overall record since their 2024 season began in February.

This is a developing story. Follow updates on Women’s Lacrosse and Kathy Taylor from The Colgate Maroon-News here.

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About the Contributor
Jesse Harris
Jesse Harris, Editor-In-Chief
Jesse Harris is a senior from Chappaqua, NY concentrating in English and psychology with a creative writing emphasis. She has previously served as Multimedia Manager, Commentary Editor, Assistant Commentary Editor and as a staff writer. On campus, Jesse is a Presidential Ambassador, President of the Women's Club Basketball team, and is a member of a Greek letter organization.

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