Howard University softball coach Tori Tyson is speaking out about her frustration with the NCAA and its rules committee following an incident that took place early in March.
Tyson is currently serving a suspension stemming from an incident in which she says her players were manipulated by an umpire and she was thrown out of a game for standing up for them.
The incident happened on March 4, 2023 as Howard University softball was visiting the University of California-Irvine. Tyson said it started with an umpire not giving her players adqeuate time to warm up.
Tyson said what really set her off was the umpire telling her freshman catcher that she moved too slow. According to her, the player was unaware how inappropriate it was because it was her first collegiate start.
“This is triggering,” Tyson wrote.
But Tyson says the umpire was very aware of what he was doing.
“He positioned himself to block me & said this silently to her b/c he knew this was wrong! This isn’t integrity this is manipulation!,” Tyson tweeted. “This started from inning 1 he was controlling her & the game he NEVER mentioned 90 seconds. She though this was normal.”
Tyson provided video to support her claims that the umpire continued to act in a manipulative manner. She eventually confronted UCR coach Nikki Palmer, who insisted she protest after the game. Tyson said she agreed to, then headed back to her dugout where she encouraged her team to keep playing despite circumstances that she felt were clearly unfair.
She wanted her team to push on as she was pushing on. The date of the incident — March 4th — coincided with the date of the passing of her daughter’s father in 2022. That incident was a big part of the Howard University softball run to the MEAC title run last spring. Her team was playing with his number (24) painted on their faces at the time.
“This is bigger than softball,” Tyson told her team from the dugout. “Let’s play softball.”
Ironically, this is what led to her being thrown out of the game.
“I own not standing down b/c I won’t show women that a woman especially a black woman has to stand down & shut up.. in a sport made for women, played by women! So I demanded an explanation for the initial issue of why he kept ending their warm up, why I was warned & now my ejection…
Tori Tyson says the on-field umpires agreed that this was wrong, but insisted she protest later.
“While I agree On-field calls are for later interpretation, disrespect, lack of integrity, & silencing a woman & minority girls ARE NOT a FOR LATER task.”
According to Tyson, the NCAA has received numerous complaints and statements regarding the incident. Here is how the NCAA responded:
The same protocol for processing this ejection/suspension report was followed that has been in place for many years. However, the NCAA Softball Rules Committee can discuss improving protocols related to processing ejection/suspension reports and will take your suggestions into consideration. Unfortunately, there is no appeal process and the NCAA softball playing rules don’t allow for an ejection/suspension to be overturned.
This did not fly with Tori Tyson.
“I will not serve this suspension in vein! My babies deserve better! This wasn’t about 90 seconds this was about 1 man impacting the game, de-humanizing my athletes and myself! She tweeted. “I will never stand down on that nor apologize for it!”