Texas Tech women's basketball players describe toxic culture: 'Fear, anxiety and depression'

Texas Tech women's basketball players describe toxic culture: 'Fear, anxiety and depression'

Texas Tech females’s basketball gamers define harmful society: ‘Depression, anxiety as well as worry’

In 2 years given that Marlene Stollings took over once-storied program, 12 players have left amidst claims of abuse by the train and 2 assistants. Jori Epstein and also Daniel Libit, USA TODAY Sports The initial gamer in the Texas Tech ladies’s basketball storage locker area on Monday mornings texted an image to the remainder of the team.
Bellies churning, sweat glands in overdrive, the players glanced at their phones and also the picture of a floor-to-ceiling dry-erase board. It presented what they understood to be the bottom line: outcomes from wearable heart-rate displays mandated for every technique, exercise as well as video game.
“OFF” was a checklist of players whose heart price had actually supposedly gone down listed below 90% capability for even more than two minutes of game time.
Fail to keep up, and also players had to solution to train Marlene Stollings as well as her staff. Playing time might experience. Conditioning projects were likely.
“It was basically like an abuse system,” Erin DeGrate, that moved to Baylor in 2019, told USA TODAY Sports. Justin Rex, For the USA TODAY NETWORK Share Erin DeGrate, transferred to Baylor from Texas Tech It was primarily like a torture system.
In a series of season-ending exit meetings, gamers declared a culture of misuse in the Texas Tech program given that Stollings took over in April 2018. They claim a hazardous ambience has triggered an exodus of players, consisting of 12 of 21 leaving the program, seven of whom were hired under Stollings. 2 gamers described these allegations to the NCAA and also were provided waivers allowing them to play the next period.
UNITED STATES TODAY Sports teamed up with The Intercollegiate, an university sports investigatory media outlet that got Texas Tech’s exit meetings with players from the past 2 seasons using public documents requests. In enhancement to examining those files and others, USA TODAY Sports spoke with 10 gamers, two former aide trains and also two moms and dads regarding the program. 6 of the gamers talked on problem of privacy for anxiety of retaliation. Among the insurance claims: ■ The emphasis on keeping an elevated heart rate during play drove 2 players to eschew taking non-prescription medicines in an effort to utilize the pain to keep their heart prices surged. ■ The three worldwide gamers on lineups the past two periods presumably encountered therapy such as being mocked, isolated and also threatened by trains. Brazil indigenous Marcella LaMark claimed Stollings informed LaMark her physical fitness delayed until now behind teammates that she was “dangerous” to them. ■ Emma Merriweather, a 6-5 center, said she was advised by instructors for showing signs and symptoms of depression, for which she was at some point detected. When she had a negative idea, she was likewise presumably informed by assistant instructor Nikita Lowry Dawkins to break a rubber band on her wrist. ■ Five players affirmed stamina as well as conditioning train Ralph Petrella sexually pestered gamers, making suggestive comments to one gamer and also using a therapy strategy that entailed using stress to some players’ breasts as well as pubic bones and also groins. Petrella, that rejects any kind of misbehavior, surrendered in March after the season. ■ Three players claimed Stollings retaliated by holding tougher practices after they brought abuse insurance claims to college authorities, consisting of Judi Henry, executive senior associate sports supervisor as well as senior ladies’s manager.
The university formed a committee to examine the gamers’ accusations of abuse in exit interviews, Title IX issues, transfer waiver demands filed to the NCAA as well as meetings with college authorities. The four-person committee, that included deputy athletics director Tony Hernandez as well as Title IX private investigator Glenn Mellinger, explored the claims against Petrella as well as other concerns regarding the program, sports supervisor Kirby Hocutt stated in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
“Earlier this year, we were alerted of claims of inappropriate behavior by a support employee of our women’s basketball program. When the person was confronted with the allegations, the specific surrendered from their placement prior to any type of college testimonial can happen,” Hocutt claimed.
“Additionally, based upon details received we carried out a comprehensive program testimonial of our women’s basketball program. … I have actually thoroughly discussed this testimonial with instructor Stollings and also am positive that we are taking suitable actions to improve the connection and also communication between instructors and student-athletes so that we can proceed to grow the success of our program both on and off the court.”
When asked to offer a duplicate of the committee’s evaluation, Texas Tech stated a report was provided to Hocutt verbally.
Stollings also provided a statement to USA TODAY Sports, which check out partly:
“We know modification is hard which has been no different at Texas Tech. Some remarkable girls have actually chosen to leave our program and pursue their desires elsewhere. I wish they have found whatever they are trying to find at their brand-new location.
“Our administration as well as my personnel count on the method we are constructing and transforming this program around right here. Our trainee athletes are creating a disciplined approach both on as well as off the court.
“I desire our students, followers and also graduates to know we are dedicated to winning championships at Texas Tech and doing it the proper way through effort, liability and also fierce decision.”
Mia Castaneda, that transferred to Washburn University in Kansas last year, stated the instructors’ technique has actually exceeded instilling effort and accountability.
“It was just the sensation of fear, anxiety, anxiety,” Castaneda informed USA TODAY Sports. “And it wasn’t just a few individuals– it was our entire group.
“They were damaging not just professional athletes, they were breaking people. And also they didn’t understand that.” ‘Multiple warnings’
Texas Tech had a 55-82 document under Candi Whitaker from 2013-18 before Stollings replaced her on April 9, 2018. Stollings had managed turn-arounds at Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth. During the 2017-18 season, her Gophers defeat four top-25 teams, advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and completed the period 24-9.
In the launch announcing her hiring, Stollings said she sought to return “to national importance” a Lady Raiders program that has 11 Sweet Sixteen appearances and also a 1993 championship game led by Hall of Fame train Marsha Sharp and also eventual three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes. Marlene Stollings has a job document of 164– 117 as trainer at five colleges, consisting of 31-27 at Texas Tech. Tony Gutierrez, AP
Stollings stated in a statement that she would certainly bring a “enjoyable, up-tempo design of basketball that student-athletes will delight in.” She additionally brought associate head instructor Lowry Dawkins, that had actually been Stollings’ leading assistant at Minnesota as well as VCU. The duties were turned around greater than 15 years previously, when Lowry Dawkins was head trainer and also Stollings an aide at New Mexico State.
Lowry Dawkins’ tenure at New Mexico State ended in 2003 when she was gotten rid of adhering to a school examination “right into accusations of mental and also physical abuse, as well as other conduct that has threatened the health, security, well-being and education of student-athletes under your charge,” according to a copy of the college’s discontinuation notice gotten by the Intercollegiate in addition to various other investigative documents.
POINT OF VIEW: Texas Tech sustains basketball coach Marlene Stollings at athletes’ cost
New Mexico State’s investigation found Lowry Dawkins intimidated to eliminate one gamer, pulled another player’s hair as well as pressed gamers in conditioning to the point that some became ill. After Lowry Dawkins was reassigned to assistant sports director, Stollings was named acting instructor as well as ultimately resigned on behalf of Lowry Dawkins.
“You were counseled for similar actions last period,” Lowry Dawkins’ termination notice claimed, “and also your activities this year indicate a hesitation or a failure to satisfy an appropriate degree of conduct.”
Lowry refuted the cases at the time according to The Associated Press: “I would certainly wish they would certainly do a great faith examination. It appears to me (the accusations) been brushed up under the carpet and also I’ve been reassigned. I do not believe that’s reasonable.”
Lowry Dawkins’ New Mexico State post is not noted on her Texas Tech biography, nor in the 2018 release when the school employed her.
In 2018-19 under Stollings, the Lady Raiders won 14 games, doubling their total from the previous period. Still, 8 players transferred to other programs by the summertime. 2 assistant trains, consisting of principal of staff Larry Tidwell, left after the period. Texas Tech aide coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins, right, holds Chrislyn Carr after she missed out on a possible game-winning shot after a game in February 2019. Brad Tollefson, USA TODAY NETWORK
Tidwell, that retired briefly before training at Kansas 2019-20, commended Texas Tech president Lawrence Schovanec as well as Hocutt when reached for comment.
“Your group is a reflection of the head trainer,” Tidwell told USA TODAY Sports. “What design the head instructor chooses you need to either purchase into both feet in or you require to make a change. I don’t have any remorses regarding my tenure at Texas Tech.”
In the document of 5 gamers to the NCAA relating to transfer waivers for Merriweather as well as LaMark, they defined the Texas Tech program as an “very unhealthy” as well as “toxic atmosphere” in which gamers were “abused” and also “degraded,” according to duplicates gotten by USA TODAY Sports. As well as in the departure interviews, which were confidential, gamers addressed the exodus bluntly.
“That’s not an absence of talent or a lack of playing,” one player composed. “That’s having regard for themselves that they recognize a hazardous environment when they see one.”
Texas Tech conducts leave meetings with players by means of a college sports study software application called RealRecruit, which compiles responses as well as after that scores participants as “marketers,””passives” or “critics” of the program. Each of the nine players that completed the 2018-19 survey were identified as a “critic.” Show inscription Hide subtitle Texas Tech performed confidential departure meetings with a RealRecruit software application that identifies players as marketers, passives or critics of the program. In 2018-19, all 9 … Texas Tech conducted confidential leave meetings via a RealRecruit software that categorizes gamers as marketers, passives or critics of the program. In 2018-19, all 9 gamers who finished the survey were considered “critics” towards both the program and also head train Marlene Stollings. Offered
In contrast, no various other Texas Tech group registered fifty percent of its gamers as detractors. When asked to price Stollings’ personality, one gamer stated: “By exactly how she deals with individuals, her personality appears bad.” One more gamer claimed, “no precepts, no integrity.”
In 2019-20, the Lady Raiders’ record once again enhanced, before the novel coronavirus suddenly ended the season. Texas Tech won seven of 18 meeting video games, the most because 2013, as well as completed with its very first winning document (18-11) in seven periods.
“She’s an excellent train on the court X’s and also O’s,” one gamer said. “I believe she’s smart.”
However, players transferred to Nebraska, Kansas State, Virginia and also North Texas. In 2020 exit meetings, a gamer said trainers “used fear to encourage you,” which there was “not one individual on this lineup that really feels comfortable rising to our instructors (sic) workplace.”
“Do something concerning the instructors,” one player created, “to make sure that my colleagues don’t need to proceed enduring in silence.” One of the most startling cases from USA TODAY’s investigation right into Texas Tech SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports acquired Texas Tech’s leave interviews with players from the past 2 seasons by means of public documents demands. In enhancement to examining those others and also files, USA TODAY Sports interviewed 10 players, two previous assistant instructors and 2 parents concerning the program. U.S.A. TODAY Claims of seclusion, control and also retaliation
Stollings as well as her team called gamers “disgusting” and also “trash,” five players from the past 2 periods told USA TODAY Sports. Instructors called article gamers “fat pig,””grossly unfit” and also “grossly disproportional,” 4 state.
Players say trainers dismissed some injuries and also pressured players to play although a trainer or medical expert suggested or else.
One player claimed Stollings told her to take stress and anxiety medicine, an accusation that was additionally kept in mind in an exit interview as well as described by a teammate the gamer told at the time. The gamer claimed she fulfilled with a psychoanalyst, who ended medicine had not been essential.
3 worldwide gamers were especially targeted by instructors, as well as ridiculed over their English language abilities, gamers said.
LaMark, the Brazilian center, informed USA TODAY Sports that in the fall of 2018, Stollings instructed her to train and also consume alone, stating LaMark was “harmful” to her teammates.
“I was ‘harmful’ to them and I could harm them because I was not fit,” claimed LaMark, who moved to Pittsburgh and won her NCAA appeal to get eligibility. “I had to remain in a various setting during.”
In solo sessions with Petrella, the stamina and conditioning trainer, LaMark said she was told that her heart-rate information suggested she had not been offering enough initiative.
LaMark claimed Stollings required she sign an agreement specifying that if she didn’t complete an exercise in a certain amount of time, she ‘d concur to be released from the team. LaMark declined, and Stollings informed the team that LaMark had asked for her release, 3 players claimed.

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