Professor at center of Dan Dakich controversy speaks out: ‘He debased and violated me’

INDIANAPOLIS — As a former Division I swimmer, Dr. Johanna Mellis said she's been the target far too many times of sexualization in sports, but what WFNI The Fan host and ESPN college basketball announcer Dan Dakich recently subjected her to was as extreme as it gets, she said.

"His behavior here was misogynistic and violent towards me," Mellis, an assistant professor of world history at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, told IndyStar Monday.

Mellis, who is also a co-host of The End of Sport Podcast, got into a Twitter debate with Dakich on Feb. 23 that began over compensation for college athletes. 

After Dakich questioned whether she and other professors who were debating him understood athletics, Mellis issued a challenge to Dakich that they battle it out in the pool. 

"Dan you want to play in the 'arena?'" Mellis tweeted to Dakich. "Let’s level the playing field a bit: I used to swim upwards of 10,000 yards in practice sometimes. I’ve done 10x100s butterfly, 10x400IMs, and one time 10×1000 freestyles for time. It’s brutal, but yeah let’s go at it in the pool"

Mellis said in an email to IndyStar that she was asking that they race in the pool, but Dakich took it another direction. He responded with a tweet that has since been deleted, saying he would have to get divorced from his wife first.  

"Through his use of the b-word and the way he sexualized my clear reference to racing in the pool, he debased and violated me according to my identity over the public airwaves for all to hear," Mellis wrote.

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