Some disturbing allegations have prompted the shutdown of the University of Detroit Mercy women’s basketball season.
The parents of all 14 players penned a letter to university officials alleging that head coach AnnMarie Gilbert created a program rooted in “fear” and subjected her players to “emotional, mental and physical abuse”.
“It has become painfully obvious that our young women are suffering emotional, mental and physical abuse under the leadership of their head coach,” the letter said. “In addition, those of us who are former collegiate athletes and/or coaches are clearly aware there are possible NCAA violations being committed.”
“It’s been a nightmare,” said one anonymous parent. “Our girls are just not the same.”
The letter alleged that Gilbert, who was hired last April, would refer to her injured players as “cowards” and would routinely have players exceed the 20 hours of countable athletically related activities, as well as try to get them to play while injured.
Additional allegations include chastising players with good academic grades for “not making basketball a priority” and communicating unprofessionally with assistant coaches and staff.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes is our athletic department’s top priority,” Detroit Mercy director of athletics Robert Vowels said in a statement. “We have talked with all players and members of our women’s basketball program about their concerns. We take them very seriously and will continue to review them closely. As we have prioritized the needs of our student-athletes during this challenging academic year, we have decided to suspend the 2020-21 women’s basketball season.”
No comment from Gilbert has been made in response to the allegations. Detroit Mercy is 1-13 this season.
– – Quotes via Chris Solari of The Detroit Free Press Link – –