Student athlete sues for “body shaming” by coaches who took her scholarship over sexy photos

Shalom Ifeanyi says she was subjected to unfair scrutiny by coaches who said her social media photos were too provacative


A Black University of Cincinnati student says she was body shamed over her Instagram photos and lost her athletic scholarship after two white female coaches stalked her timeline.

Shalom Ifeanyi filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court last Tuesday, according to Yahoo, claiming that two women’s volleyball coaches harassed and shamed her about the pics on her social media account. They dismissed her from the team because of photos that were “too sexy” Ifeanyi alleges.

Former coach Molly Alvey and executive senior associate athletic director Maggie McKinley are named in the lawsuit as defendants

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Basis of claim

Ifeanyi, 19, says that she was hounded by Alvey and is suing for racial discrimination and sexual discrimination in the suit. She said that she was singled out about her pics and complied several times when Alvey asked her to remove the so-called sexy pics.

 “Upon information and belief, no such requests were made to other members of the women’s volleyball team who were of slighter build and lighter complexion despite photographs picturing them in outfits, including but not limited to, two-piece swimsuits,” the lawsuit states.

Even though Ifeanyi took down photos that Alvey said were offensive, she said the coach continued to scan her Instagram timeline and pick her photos apart. She said when she instead uploaded a conservative headshot after taking down the other pictures, it still wasn’t enough for Alvey.

“When the football players see this, what do you think they see?” the coach allegedly told her. “They see your breasts. It’s seductive.”

Enough is enough

Ifeanyi ultimately got frustrated with Alvey’s constant demands and refused to comply saying she was frustrated over the “body shaming.”

Ifeanyi was later kicked off the team after Alvey and McKinley met to discuss the matter. They cited there were “different philosophies” that aided their decision to dismiss Ifeanyi from the team.

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Now Ifeanyi says she’s been negatively affected because she can’t secure a new scholarship as a transfer student at a new school since NCAA transfer rules state that she can’t play competitively for a year after she transfers. Ifeanyi has left the University of Cincinnati.

Her lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, among other legal costs and fees.

After filing a Title IX claim some nine months ago, Ifeanyi says an investigation has not been completed.

A spokesman for the University of Cincinnati’s athletic department, told Yahoo that he was “unable to comment on the allegations.”

“We feel that the lawsuit speaks for itself and do not have any additional comments at this time,” her lawyer, Ryan McGraw, said.  

Ifeanyi on the other hand wants compensation for “pain and suffering in the form of humiliation, frustration, aggravation, anger, and depression.”

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