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‘Who is protecting us?’: Howard softball coach speaks out after being suspended for standing up for players

Tori Tyson
Photo: Howard Athletics


Howard softball coach Tori Tyson is petitioning the NCAA after she was ejected and later hit with a suspension following an incident with an umpire during a game earlier this month.

Tyson says she is currently serving a two-game suspension for protecting her players from an umpire who she claims behaved in an intimidating and manipulating manner during a game against UC Riverside on March 3.

In a series of tweets and videos detailing the incident, Tyson explained it all started when the home plate umpire did not grant her players the allotted time to warm up between innings.


“This incident shook me & I’m still fired up about the lack of support & backing from the NCAA & it’s rules committee!” Tyson wrote. “This wasn’t about a call this was about my greatest fear of dealing with biases and prejudices outside my control.”

The coach alleged the umpire became frustrated with the pace of Howard’s warm-up and told her catcher the team was not moving quickly enough during the 90-second allotted warm-up time.

“The most upsetting part about this was what he said to my catcher. An 18-year-old minority SA that this umpire took advantage of “Y’all move to slow, balls in” The racial undertone is triggering, Tyson tweeted. “It was her 1st start so she wasn’t aware at how inappropriate this was…”

Tyson said the umpire then intentionally blocked her from hearing the remark because “he knew he was wrong.”

“This isn’t integrity this is manipulation!” Tyson continued. “This started from inning 1 he was controlling her & the game he NEVER mentioned 90 seconds. She though(t) this was normal.”


UCR coach Nikki Palmer told Tyson that she should file a protest after the game because of what transpired.

Tyson later said she went back to the dugout, sat on a bucket and said, “This is bigger than softball. Let’s play softball.”

It was that comment, Tyson alleged, that led to her ejection from the game.

“I was in the dugout so i didn’t hear my ejection, no on-site admin was contacted, nor was I given 60 seconds!” she said.

Tyson said did not regret standing up for her team at that moment despite being thrown out of the game.


“I own not standing down b/c I won’t show women that a woman especially a black woman has to stand down & shut up.. in a sport made for women, played by women!” Tyson said. “So I demanded an explanation for the initial issue of why he kept ending their warm up, why I was warned & now my ejection.”

Tyson said the other umpires apart of the crew agreed that the entire incident was wrong and then protest after the game.

“While I agree On-field calls are for later interpretation, disrespect, lack of integrity, & silencing a woman & minority girls ARE NOT a FOR LATER task, “she said. “I will not serve this suspension in vein! My babies deserve better! This wasn’t about 90 seconds this was about 1 man impacting the game, de-humanizing my athletes and myself! She tweeted. “I will never stand down on that nor apologize for it!”

Tyson later revealed that the NCAA received complaints about the incident and apologized for Howard’s experience that day.

Tyson has demanded some collegiate governing body stand up for Howard in a similar manner the Southland Conference did when it suspended an umpire for an egregious strike-three call against a Mississippi Valley State batter during a game Friday against New Orleans.

“What the @NCAA & college baseball is doing for Mississippi Valley, they should’ve done for my girls as well! Whose protecting them? Who is protecting us? This umpire has not been forced to apologize to my athletes, or held accountable by the @NCAA,” she said.

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