The university at the time required that athletes submit to a physical, administered by Dr. Strauss, before being allowed to compete, “which meant that systematic sexual abuse from Dr. Strauss was inevitable,” the lawsuit said.
Wrestlers who have spoken about the abuse have said that the doctor’s conduct during physicals was an open secret in the locker room, with athletes referring to him as “Dr. Jellypaws.”
The pair of lawsuits collectively detail three separate episodes spanning two decades in which athletes spoke out about the doctor’s conduct: The captain of the wrestling team complained to another doctor at the student health center; another wrestler complained to the head coach; and two wrestlers confronted the athletic director.
The head coach at the time, Russ Hellickson, has denied that he knew about the abuse, but he said he did confront Mr. Strauss about lingering too long in the showers with the wrestlers.
News reports cited in the lawsuit also detail how the facility where wrestlers practiced, Larkins Hall, was home to a “cesspool of deviancy,” in which men affiliated with the university would ogle athletes in the showers.
Stephen Estey, a lawyer representing four former wrestlers who have filed a lawsuit against the university, said on Friday that he was getting “inundated” with calls from people saying they had been abused by Dr. Strauss. He expects that an additional 20 to 25 plaintiffs will join the lawsuit, and that hundreds of former students will eventually come forward.
“There were many red flags that O.S.U. ignored,” Mr. Estey said, pointing to reports that athletes at the time complained about the doctor’s misconduct. “By not taking any action at the time, O.S.U. exposed hundreds of kids to his abuse.”
Mr. Jordan and his ardent denials of misconduct have thrust the tight-knit Ohio wrestling community into the national news media, and into disarray. Eight former wrestlers, including a former Ultimate Fighting Champion celebrity, have publicly accused Mr. Jordan of knowing about the abuse, but a platoon of former wrestlers and coaches has come to his support, drawing battle lines among some members of the community.