Former Texas track coach John Rembao, NCAA sued by former Texas student-athletes over alleged abuse

Alex Briseño and Marcus Krum

Three former Longhorns filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, the NCAA Board of Governers and former Texas track and field coach John Rembao, alleging that the NCAA neglects to protect student-athletes from sexual harassment or sexual contact from coaches.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by law firms FeganScott and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, alleges that the NCAA permitted years of sexual abuse by the lack of policies or sanctions put in place to force schools to report any cases of abuse. 

All three former student-athletes whom the lawsuit was filed on behalf of — Erin Aldrich, Jessica Johnson and Londa Bevins — competed at Texas while Rembao was on staff as the track coach from 1997-2001.

Aldrich, who was a 2000 Olympian and an eight-time All-American high jumper, started her career at Arizona with Rembao before they both headed to Texas in 1997. Aldrich told USA Today that the abuse stopped once she arrived at UT, but only because he allegedly shifted his focus to Johnson. 

Johnson, who later became a two-time All-American high jumper at Arkansas, was subject to Rembao’s alleged abuse as soon as she got to the Forty Acres. Bevins, a middle-distance runner who eventually became a seven-time All-American at Arkansas, told USA Today she decided to go to Texas after Rembao heavily recruited her before he allegedly targeted her.  

“The behavior alleged in this story is disturbing,” UT Athletics Director Chris Del Conte told The Daily Texan. “Our current coaches and staff know that such behavior is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at The University of Texas.”

Johnson filed an official 24-page report detailing the alleged abuse and submitted it to the University. The University’s subsequent report found that Rembao did not violate the University of Texas’ sexual misconduct policies.

Rembao served as an assistant coach at a multitude of schools across the country, making stops at Cal Poly, Arizona, SMU, Stanford, UC-Berkeley and Texas. Rembao denied the allegations of sexually harassing or abusing the three athletes, according to USA Today. 

With the lawsuit, the three former student-athletes are now looking for the NCAA to implement new policies regarding coach-student relationships.