Ken Goe has the story in the Oregonian here:
Robert Johnson, who became UO’s track and field and cross country head coach in 2012, has guided the Ducks to 14 NCAA championships while elevating what already had been one of the sport’s premier college programs.
Under Johnson the Ducks increasingly have embraced expensive and advanced technological tools such as blood tests, hydration tests and DEXA scans. A DEXA scan is a medical imaging test that uses X-rays to precisely measure bone density and body fat percentage.
DEXA scans, in particular, have become a flashpoint for some athletes, who say the precise body fat percentage measurements can trigger unhealthy behaviors.
Johnson contends his scientific approach largely removes human bias from judgments about athletes and allows the UO coaching staff to design workouts precisely tailored to each athlete’s needs.
“Track is nothing but numbers,” he says. “A good mathematician probably could be a good track coach.”
Some athletes contend this innovation comes at a staggering personal price.
An athlete who graduated from Oregon at the end of the 2020 school year emailed UO deputy athletic director Lisa Peterson, senior women’s administrator, in October 2020.
In the email she says she had been receiving text messages and Snapchats that fall from former teammates so worried about upcoming DEXA scans they were starving themselves.
She tells Peterson in the email: “I have seen and experienced an absolutely disgusting amount of disordered eating on the women’s track team, all because the coaches believe body fat percentage is a key performance indicator.
“We are not professional athletes. We do not have access to a bounty of organic food. We do not have unlimited time to cook. We cannot plan our days around our nutrition, and we are not the 30-year-old Olympians that coach Johnson seeks to compare our body fat percentage to.
“While knowing body composition may be helpful for some athletes, I have seen it be nothing but destructive.”
The athlete says Peterson responded by thanking her for the email and saying she had passed it on and said that Peterson thought the allegations would be investigated. A public records request did not turn up a report of an internal investigation. …