Former San Francisco Dons baseball players sue Nino Giarratano, Troy Nakamura and others for alleged behavior

Three former University of San Francisco baseball players filed a class action lawsuit on Friday, alleging that head coach Nino Giarratano and a former assistant oversaw an environment that “included persistent psychological abuse and repeated inappropriate sexual behavior.” “.

The 113-page lawsuit, filed in United States District Court, names NCAA, USF, assistant coach Troy Nakamura and Giarratano, who has served as the Dons’ head coach since 1999.

“The University of San Francisco is aware that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court naming USF, NCAA, and USF baseball coaches,” USF said in a statement. . “The charges in the court filing are extremely concerning and are in direct opposition to USF’s core values. We condemn the abusive and demeaning behavior described in the lawsuit. We are committed to our current and former student athletes, and we we undertake to determine the facts of the case.

“USF will have a more detailed response after a thorough review of the lawsuit.”

In December, USF suspended Giarratano and Nakamura after receiving complaints of inappropriate behavior. An investigation led to Nakamura’s dismissal on January 13.

“While the investigation found no evidence of a widespread harmful culture within the baseball program, reported incidents indicated that coaches exhibited poor judgment and lack of supervision” , the school said in a statement at the time.

The three former players, identified as John Does in the lawsuit, described various forms of abuse and described a culture in which “it was ‘normal’ to see [Nakamura] naked on the field or in front of a window, swinging his penis like a helicopter while the whole team — and [Giarratano] — look at.”

John Doe 1 alleges that Giarratano referred to him using multiple profanities and repeatedly berated him in an attempt to pressure him to leave the program (he had a large four-year guaranteed scholarship). He entered the transfer portal in January.

John Doe 2 described a pattern of verbal and emotional abuse that resulted in five emergency room visits in the fall of 2021, which contributed to his decision to leave the program.

John Doe 3 said Giarratano told him he was a waste of space, none of his teammates or coaches liked him and said: “I wish I could take my bat and hit you on the head too loud as possible and maybe I can get your brain to work,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the NCAA and USF violated their contractual obligations, as set forth in the NCAA’s Division I Handbook, on numerous grounds, including failing “to prohibit sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse of student-athletes by athletic department personnel”.

The lawsuit also alleges that several players became suicidal as a result of Giarratano and Nakamura’s behavior, but provides no additional context.

Former USF baseball player Tyler Imbach described having suicidal thoughts in a public Instagram post in September and told the San Francisco Chronicle this week, “The USF thing has definitely made my life worse. mental health issues. USF was a tough experience, just the way I was treated by the coaching staff. It kind of sent me over the edge.

Imbach told the Chronicle that he received “verbal abuse” from Giarratano.

John Doe 1’s mother also told the Chronicle that she fears her son could be injured due to the way he was treated by USF coaches.

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