Katie Meyer, a 22-year-old Stanford University soccer star who was just months away from graduating, died by suicide on Tuesday, her parents and authorities said.
Her parents, who are searching for answers over her death, told NBC's Today show on Friday that while they "had no red flags," they believed that their daughter may have feared possible disciplinary action from the school.
Steven and Gina Meyer said Katie may have gotten an email indicating she faced discipline related to an incident involving another player on her team.
The star goalie "was defending a teammate on campus over an incident," her father said, "and the repercussions of her defending that teammate" might have led to her also facing disciplinary action.
Her parents said they had not yet seen the email firsthand, but added that she had been receiving letters on the matter for a couple months.
"This letter was kind of the final letter that there was going to be a trial or some kind of something," Gina said. "This is the only thing that we can come up with that triggered something."
A spokesperson for Stanford University did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, but told Today that the school could not comment on matters of student discipline due to confidentiality.
"Our entire community is devastated by Katie’s death, and we share our deepest condolences with Katie’s family and everyone who knew her at Stanford, across the country and around the world. Katie touched so many lives," the school said. "We are not able to share information about confidential student disciplinary matters. We as a university community continue to grieve with Katie’s family and cherish our memories of her."
Meyer was a senior majoring in international relations and minoring in history, and was just months away from graduating. Her skills and confidence on the soccer field made her a viral star at the 2019 NCAA women’s soccer championship, after she made two saves in a penalty kick shootout against North Carolina and led the team to its third victory.
On Tuesday morning, Meyer was found dead in her dorm room. The school announced her death in a statement Wednesday, describing her as a "fiercely competitive" athlete" who was "extraordinarily committed to everything and everyone in her world."
"Her friends describe her as a larger-than-life team player in all her pursuits, from choosing an academic discipline she said 'changed my perspective on the world and the very important challenges that we need to work together to overcome' to the passion she brought to the Cardinal women’s soccer program and to women’s sports in general," the school said.
Meyer's teammates remembered her for her boundless energy, both on and off the field. "She just lived life to the fullest always," her former teammate, Naomi Girma, told Today.
The school did not immediately disclose the cause of Meyer's death, but the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was suicide.
"The last couple days are like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it," Gina said.
They last spoke to their daughter over FaceTime just hours before her death, and said she seemed like "just the usual jovial Katie," with no indication she was in any distress. But her grieving parents now wonder whether the pressure of balancing soccer and academics may have become too much.
"She was excited," Gina said of their last conversation. "She had a lot on her plate. She had a lot going on. But she was happy. She was in great spirits."
Not much is known at this time about the disciplinary action Meyer may have faced, and her parents hope to eventually have more answers about what she might have been going through.
"We’re just struggling right now," Gina said. "We are struggling to know what happened, and why it happened. We’re just heartbroken, so heartbroken."
The US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. Find other international suicide helplines at Befrienders Worldwide (befrienders.org).