External evaluation of NDSU cheer team culture to be conducted

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 3:08 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:53 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Officials at North Dakota State University say an external evaluation into the culture of the cheer team will be conducted. This comes after a months-long Valley News Live investigation into complaints against former cheer coach Verona Winkler.

In 2018, a group of cheerleaders at NDSU spoke out against Winkler, claiming physical, emotional and verbal abuse. In late August of 2022, Valley News Live received a message into our Whistleblower Hotline making similar claims. Winkler resigned as the cheer coach on November 9, 2022.

NDSU officials say the evaluation will be conducted in January 2023 and the results will be used to search for a permanent coach. The current coach is serving on an interim basis.

Members of our Valley News Live investigative team went to Winkler’s home to give her an opportunity to share her side of the story. Despite people being inside the home, no one answered the door. We have also reached out to the NDSU athletic department for interviews about these allegations.