The UC Berkeley team doctor has been on vacation since December while a law firm hired by the school is investigating allegations of misconduct against the doctor, Southern California News Group has learned.
Dr. Kent Sheff, junior doctor for Cal’s athletic team, was placed on “investigative leave” on Dec. 15, a school spokesman confirmed.
“In line with privacy, human resources and due process policies, all we can say is that Dr. Sheff remains on leave to investigate,” Cal said in a statement to SCNG.
The revelation of Sheff’s departure comes amid three investigations into allegations of bullying by California women’s swim team head coach Teri McKeever, which were told to the SCNG by 36 current or former Golden Bears Cal swimmers and divers, 17 parents, a former member of the Cal men’s team. a swimming and diving team, two former coaches and two former employees of the California Athletic Department.
According to a UC Berkeley athlete interviewed by lawyers hired by the university, the Sheff investigation was prompted by complaints from California athletes last year alleging physician misconduct.
According to emails and a woman interviewed during the investigation, the California athletes were contacted in February by Jamie Luguri, an attorney in the Los Angeles office of the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.
“We are investigating a confidential matter on behalf of UC Berkeley regarding allegations of misconduct involving a UC Berkeley healthcare professional,” Luguri wrote in an email to the California athlete. “We believe you may have important information.”
The documents do not specify the nature and extent of the alleged misconduct.
Attempts to contact Sheff were unsuccessful.
Munger, Tolls and Olson were also hired by Cal last month to investigate the allegations against McKeever in a series of SCNG reports. Swimmers and their supporters have described how McKeever allegedly regularly taunted swimmers, often in deeply personal terms, or used embarrassing or traumatic experiences from their past against them, used racial epithets, shamed the body, and forced athletes to compete or train when they were injured or dealt with chronic diseases 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, the day after the first SCNG report was released. McKeever, the head coach of the 2012 US Olympic women’s team that also led Cal to four NCAA team titles, is also under investigation by the university’s Office of Harassment and Discrimination Prevention for allegedly using a racist epithet and profanity in derogatory terms about rap music. five swimmers, two parents, and confidential university documents obtained by the SCNG.
The OPHD investigation into the incident initially focused on potential racial discrimination, but has since expanded to also look at possible discrimination based on sexual orientation and national origin, according to documents from swimmers, parents and the university. The OPHD investigation was initiated prior to the original SCNG report.
According to swimmers contacted by the center and emails related to the investigation, McKeever is also under investigation by the U.S. Safe Sports Center.
McKeever repeatedly declined to comment. Her lawyer said she was a victim of gender bias, with female coaches held to different standards than their male counterparts.
Sheff joined the California Sports Medicine State in 2017. He played football and wrestled at Waldorf College before going to the University of Minnesota Medical School and doing a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan.
The state medical commission has not taken any disciplinary action against Sheff that it is required to report, according to the commission’s website.
UC Berkeley swimmers claim coach Teri McKeever bullied and abused them for years
UC Berkeley Places Swim Coach Teri McKeever on Administrative Leave