A team doctor at the University of California, Berkeley has been on furlough since December while a law firm hired by the school investigates allegations of misconduct against the doctor, Southern California has learned NewsGroup.
Dr. Kent Scheff, associate physician for Cal’s athletic teams, was placed on “investigative leave” on Dec. 15, a school spokesperson confirmed.
“In accordance with policies that protect privacy, personnel issues and due process, all we can say is that Dr. Scheff remains on investigative leave,” Cal said in a statement to SCNG.
The revelation of Scheff’s furlough comes amid three investigations into allegations of bullying by Cal women’s head swim coach Teri McKeever told to the SCNG by 36 current or former Cal Golden Bears swimmers and divers, 17 parents, a former member of the Cal men’s swimming and diving team, two former coaches and two former employees of the Cal athletic department.
The investigation into Scheff was prompted by complaints filed last year by female athletes in California who alleged medical malpractice, according to a UC Berkeley athlete who was interviewed by attorneys hired by the university. .
Female Cal athletes were contacted by Jamie Luguri, an attorney in the Los Angeles office of the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson in February, according to emails and the woman interviewed for the investigation.
“We are investigating a confidential matter on behalf of UC Berkeley regarding allegations of misconduct involving a UC Berkeley medical provider,” Luguri wrote in an email to a California athlete. “We believe you may have relevant information.”
The documents did not detail the nature and extent of the alleged misconduct.
Attempts to reach Scheff were unsuccessful.
Munger, Tolles & Olson was also retained by Cal last month to investigate allegations against McKeever in a series of SCNG reports. Swimmers and their supporters recounted how McKeever regularly bullied swimmers, often in deeply personal terms, or used embarrassing or traumatic experiences from their past against them, used racial epithets, shamed athletes and rushed to compete or s training while injured or dealing with chronic illnesses or eating disorders, even accusing some women of lying about their condition despite providing them with medical records.
McKeever was placed on paid administrative leave by the university on May 25, one day after the first SCNG report has been published. McKeever, the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic team who also led Cal to four NCAA team titles, is also under investigation by the university’s office for the prevention of harassment and discrimination for allegedly using a racial epithet and profanity in disparaging rap music, according to five swimmers, two parents and confidential university documents obtained by SCNG.
The OPHD’s investigation into the incident initially focused on potential racial discrimination, but has since been broadened to also consider possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and national origin, according to swimmers, parents and university documents. The OPHD investigation was launched before the initial report of the SCNG.
McKeever is also being investigated by the US Center for SafeSport, according to swimmers contacted by the center and emails related to the investigation.
McKeever repeatedly declined to comment. A lawyer for her said she was a victim of gender bias in which female coaches are held to different standards than their male counterparts.
Scheff joined Cal’s sports medicine staff in 2017. He played football and wrestled at Waldorf College before attending medical school at the University of Minnesota and doing a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan. .
The state medical board has taken no disciplinary action against Scheff that he is required to report, according to the board’s website.