Basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes has been coaching the Loyola University Chicago women’s basketball team since 2013. After the 2014-15 season, five players transferred to different programs. This year, 10 of the team’s 12 returning players have transferred or requested a release from their scholarships, and now the university is wondering what the hell is going on.
In a statement released on Friday, the university said that it will conduct an investigation into the women’s basketball program. From the Chicago Tribune:
“Any time there are allegations of student-athlete mistreatment, it is more than concerning,” Jermaine Truax, Loyola’s deputy athletic director, said in the statement. “The welfare of our student-athletes is paramount. Thus, the Loyola University Chicago Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has asked for an independent and comprehensive University investigation into the women’s basketball program.
“Coach Swoopes is aware of, and will fully cooperate with, the investigation. We look forward to learning how we can resolve these allegations and improve the student-athlete experience within the women’s basketball program.”
The nature of the allegations Loyola is investigating aren’t totally clear, but word has started to get out thanks to the university’s student newspaper. The Loyola Phoenix reported that at least one of Swoopes’s current players met with the athletic director to express her concerns about Swoopes. Another anonymous player spoke to the Phoenix about issues the team has with its coach:
A player on the 2015-16 roster who chose to remain anonymous told The PHOENIX that the problem players have with Swoopes isn’t her coaching style, but the way she micromanages players’ lives. The player said Swoopes shares personal information about student-athletes with the team, recruits and members of the Athletic Department.
The player said Swoopes has mistreated the team since she became the program’s head coach in 2013.
“[Players have had injuries before], and she’s basically kind of mocked [them] like, ‘Oh, well if you can’t stand, you can’t run, you can’t jump, how are you going to play basketball?’” the player said. “[The entire coaching staff] also laughs at players. I’ve seen them one time laughing at the way one of our players ran [and] laughing at the way one of our players shoots.”
Loyola finished this season with an overall record of 14-16.