Marie Tuite, the former San Jose State athletic director who was forced out of that role two years ago following a major sexual abuse scandal in her department, is set to be hired as a top athletics administrator for another Division I university.
Southern Utah, which competes in the WAC, has offered Tuite the chance to fill a newly created roll as deputy AD for external operations, commencing next month.
Southern Utah AD Doug Knuth touted Tuite’s “long list of leadership level accomplishments following roles at the NCAA, Cal, Washington and San Jose State” in a message sent to his staff last week, which was shared with Sportico by multiple sources.
Left unmentioned in Knuth’s note was how things concluded for Tuite in San Jose. After being accused of harboring an alleged serial sexual abuser—the school’s longtime head athletic trainer, Scott Shaw—and retaliating against employees in her department who raised complaints, Tuite was demoted to a fundraising role in May 2021. She later resigned from SJSU amid multiple investigations and lawsuits.
“SUU Athletics is excited to hire Marie Tuite as Deputy AD for External Operations and bring her decades of experience to serve and support our students, coaches, university and community,” Knuth told Sportico in a statement. “SUU is aware of the situation at San Jose State and based on a thorough review, reference checks and standard hiring protocols, the university is confident welcoming Marie to Thunderbird Athletics.”
Tuite did not respond to a request for comment sent to her Sunday via LinkedIn. Aside from a 2019 statement that followed an internal SJSU investigation, in which she said she was “deeply sorry our student-athletes were impacted by Scott Shaw,” Tuite has repeatedly declined to address the matter publicly.
Shaw, who stepped down from his SJSU post in September 2020, now faces federal criminal charges stemming from allegations he repeatedly fondled at least 14 SJSU female athletes under the pretext of medical treatment, over the course of a decade. He has pleaded not guilty in the case, which could potentially see Tuite called as a witness.
In December 2020, Sportico reported that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division had begun investigating SJSU’s handling of the Title IX complaints made against Shaw, which occurred both before and after Tuite took over the athletic department.
That ultimately led to a $1.6 million settlement between DOJ and the university as part of a joint resolution meant to remedy what the feds described as a decade of failure in “adequately” responding to reports of sexual misconduct. But that was just the first of several checks the Spartans would have to cut.
In January 2022, SJSU paid a $560,000 settlement to former deputy AD Steve O’Brien, who sued the university claiming that he had been fired from his job for opposing Tuite’s efforts to cover up the allegations against Shaw. That same month, the school paid $225,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by swim coach Sage Hopkins, who accused Tuite of repeatedly harassing and retaliating against him over his persistent efforts to bring Shaw to account.
In October, the school reached another settlement for an undisclosed amount with former softball coach Peter Turner, who sued claiming that he had been retaliated against and fired from his job with the Spartans because of Tuite’s personal dislike toward him.
The initial allegations against Shaw were made by multiple swimmers in 2009, prior to Tuite’s hiring. SJSU conducted an initial investigation that found “insufficient evidence to substantiate the claim of sexual harassment.” Tuite was hired as the school’s deputy director of athletics the following April, and ascended to the AD role in 2017, replacing Gene Bleymaier.
Over the course of Tuite’s tenure, Hopkins continued to make formal and informal complaints against Shaw, including in a 300-page dossier he circulated to university officials, and later provided to the NCAA and Mountain West Conference. In his lawsuit, Hopkins claimed both Shaw and Tuite retaliated against him. SJSU later publicly apologized to Hopkins while the City of San Jose honored him for his work in exposing the sexual abuse allegations.
At least two other former athletic department officials—deputy AD Josh Thiel and David Rasmussen, the senior associate AD for compliance—also raised internal complaints against Tuite, alleging either harassment, retaliation or both. Tuite declined to publicly respond to their accusations two years ago, but an SJSU spokesperson issued a blanket denial to Sportico at the time.
In November, an outside law firm hired by the San Jose State’s chancellor’s office released the findings of a two-year investigation spurred by Hopkins’ complaints.
“Several of the student-athletes who were interviewed discussed feelings of anger, frustration and regret at having come forward only to be marginalized and ignored,” stated the report, which did not specifically name anyone other than Shaw. “It is not surprising that the student-athletes did not attempt to re-report or take additional steps to hold Shaw accountable given the summary dismissal they felt SJSU had given their serious complaints.”
In response, the school apologized for “mistakes made on this campus in the past (that) have had deep and lasting impacts on the lives of members of our community.”
Tuite’s hiring at Southern Utah would not be the first example of a college AD finding work at another school after losing their job to a Title IX scandal. In 2016, Liberty University hired Ian McCaw as its athletic director, six months after he resigned from Baylor over a high-profile sexual assault scandal involving multiple football players.
(This article has been corrected in the second paragraph to reflect that Southern Utah competes in the WAC.)