The Loyola athletic department has asked the university to review its women’s basketball program and coach Sheryl Swoopes after allegations of player mistreatment, the school said late Friday.
Swoopes, a former WNBA star and three-time gold medalist, was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month.
“Any time there are allegations of student-athlete mistreatment, it is more than concerning,” Jermaine Truax, the deputy athletic director and sports administrator for women’s basketball, said in a statement released to the Sun-Times late Friday. “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.”
The Loyola Phoenix, the student newspaper, reported this week that 10 of the team’s 13 players planned to leave because they didn’t like the way Swoopes treated them.
The Ramblers went 14-16 during the regular season and finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference. After going 6-25 in the 2014-15 season, five players transferred, including one who used the graduate transfer rule to play immediately at a new school.
Swoopes was hired three years ago this week with little coaching experience beyond a 2010 stint as an assistant at Mercer Island (Wash.) High School.
Her playing career spoke for itself, though: she won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets, a college championship at Texas Tech and three Olympic gold medals.
At Thursday’s WNBA Draft in Uncasville, Conn., Swoopes was lauded as one of the three original stars of the now-20-year-old WNBA.
“We look forward to learning how we can resolve these allegations and improve the student-athlete experience within the women’s basketball program,” Truax said.