Seniors quit QU women’s soccer program amid accusations of bullying, inappropriate behavior

QU women's soccer

The Quincy University women's soccer team warms up prior to the second half of last Sunday's game against Southwest Baptist under the watchful eye of graduate assistant coach Michele Barletta. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The Quincy University women’s soccer team planned to board a charter bus at 9 a.m. Friday and head toward Kansas City for a pair of Great Lakes Valley Conference games that will impact the Hawks’ postseason pursuit.

The Hawks do so without a full roster.

A tumultuous week featuring one player being dismissed from the team, four players quitting and the resignation of assistant coach Devlyn Jeter amid accusations of bullying and inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct, has left the Hawks with 30 players remaining from the original 36-player roster.

Jeter had been a full-time assistant coach since 2022.

News of the departures surfaced Thursday afternoon when a parent of one of those players sent text messages to local media outlets.

QU athletic director Josh Rabe and QU head coach Mackenzie Schissel directed all questions to a statement released by the university administration. 

Robert Wyatt, QU’s vice president for university relations, addressed the allegations of misconduct by saying this:

“Quincy University leadership has received no formal allegation of sexual misconduct, harassment, or abuse in our women’s soccer program during the current academic year. Any allegation of sexual misconduct, harassment, or abuse, or any decision by the university to investigate employee or student conduct for any reason, would be handled in a manner consistent with our established policies and procedures, and consistent with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.”

The situation began to devolve following Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Southwest Baptist at Legends Stadium.

With QU head coach Mackenzie Schissel pregnant and due around October 19, the coaching staff chose to honor the four players in their final year of eligibility — Claire Macy, Sophie Shackleton and Madison and Grace Ledbetter — Sunday instead at the final home game to ensure Schissel would be there for the pregame ceremony.

Macy is the only senior in the starting lineup and played all 90 minutes. Grace Ledbetter came off the bench and played 28 minutes. Neither of the other two saw action. Hannah Warnecke, another senior who has a year of eligibility remaining after battling knee injuries throughout her career, played 16 minutes off the bench and was on the field when QU scored its goal.

Following the game, Warnecke informed Schissel via a letter she planned to step away from the program because of the culture that existed within the program.

Schissel also was approached after the game by parents angry their daughters didn’t see the field on Senior Day.

Tuesday, Shackleton was dismissed from the program. Macy and the Ledbetter twins then turned in their jerseys and quit the team. Alaina Nasello, another senior who was on the roster at the beginning of the season, quit earlier this season after playing in four games.

Morgan Evans and Meagan Mero quit the team last spring, meaning all seven players who were freshmen in the 2020 recruiting class left the program before finishing their eligibility. Nasello was part of the 2020 recruiting class as a sophomore transfer from Oakland University.

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