A former Ohio State varsity tennis player says there’s no doubt that retired Coach John Daly knew Dr. Richard Strauss was abusing players.
The 1980s-era student-athlete, “Gregory,” wishes to remain anonymous.
But he had plenty say about Dr. Strauss, including an observation that his teammates would “snicker” whenever Strauss’s name was mentioned.
“When Coach Daly said it’s time for physicals, my teammates would say, It’s time for our annual fondling session with Dr. Strauss,” Gregory said.
Thomas described what happened when he was called into a private room so Strauss could check him for hernias.
“I can recall vividly that he would start the physical by sitting on a stool directly in front of me, which would put his head at about the height of my penis,” Thomas said. “He made me take off my shorts and underwear – it was not acceptable to just pull them down to my knees – he said he needed them completely off to conduct a thorough examination.”
“I think he stopped because he was unable to arouse me.”
“That was my introduction to Strauss. I know I was terrified because I was just a young kid playing for a big college. When you’re a kid, you don’t really know what constitutes a ‘normal’ college physical. You just do what you’re told.”
Gregory underwent four physicals with Strauss.
“He’d listen to your heart and lungs, and then it was time for the hernia check,” he said. “I mentally checked out, but it seemed like an eternity. You just had to get through it.”
Gregory remembers Strauss fondling him during the physicals but said some of his teammates suffered “far worse” than he did.
“I think Strauss knew I was pre-med, so he was more careful with me,” he said.
One teammate did tell Coach Daly about the abuse, Gregory said, and was ignored.
“I remember Coach smirking when Strauss’s name came up – he knew what was going on,” Gregory said. “In fact, if players didn’t behave their punishment would be to go see Dr. Strauss.”
He called Daly’s behavior “inappropriate” and “disgusting.”
“Shame on him,” Gregory said. “And shame on the University for allowing this to go on with naïve 18-year-old kids. We were like lambs being led to the slaughter.”
Visits to “The Ohio State University of Today” are reminders of what happened all those years ago and hearing about Strauss’s abuse makes Gregory angry.
“I’m shocked at how widespread the abuse was,” he said. “All my teammates had similar experiences with Strauss and it makes me angry that nothing was done about it.”
Gregory joined the class action lawsuit against Ohio State in hopes of changing a school culture that “enabled a really sick and dangerous guy.”
He went on to say, “They need to take every complaint seriously. It’s about believing people. As tennis players, we were isolated from the other teams, so I assumed we were the only ones being abused. My jaw dropped when I learned Strauss had abused guys on 13 other teams.”
That knowledge brought Gregory to the realization that it’s time to join the growing chorus of former student-athletes who have been harmed by Ohio State’s decades of negligence.