According to reporting from Chantel Jennings of The Athletic, Syracuse women’s basketball Coach Quentin Hillsman is being accused of inappropriate behavior by as many as 19 people formerly involved with the program, nine of whom are former players.
The article published Tuesday morning alleges Hillsman would frequently use inappropriate language, regularly threaten players, make players uncomfortable by kissing them on the forehead, hired an assistant who had been accused of sexual harassment that made both players and managers uncomfortable, and refused to give players water breaks after periods of running.
The article also claims that two people witnessed Coach Hillsman put his arms around a player from behind and place his hands “near her pelvic region.”
11 players from last year’s women’s basketball team are transferring. As many as 20 players have left the program since 2018.
Jennings reports having reached out to the Syracuse Athletic Department with these allegations via email and received this response from Syracuse University Athletic Director John Wildhack who wrote in a statement.
“Syracuse athletics remains committed to providing a healthy, academically rigorous, competitive, and rewarding environment to all our student-athletes. Any behavior – from our student-athletes, coaches, and staff – that contradicts our commitment to these ideals is investigated thoroughly, and if necessary, appropriate action is taken.” The article reports.
After the report published, former Syracuse women’s basketball star Tiana Mangakahia tweeted what appears to be a response to the article writing:
It’s sad when you don’t get what you want (minutes/contracts after college) you accuse others of things to make them look bad. If only I exposed some of my teammates for how they treated me once I was diagnosed with Cancer. ?
— Tiana Mangakahia (@Tianamanga) June 29, 2021
The university released the following statement, promising an independent review of the allegations:
“The allegations reported in The Athletic today are troubling. Based on the nature of these allegations, Syracuse University is engaging an outside firm to conduct an independent review and will take appropriate action based on its outcome. While no formal complaints have been made to date from members of the women’s basketball program, we take these allegations very seriously. We ask any individual who has knowledge of or has experienced this kind of conduct to come forward. Syracuse University remains focused on the well-being and success of our student-athletes.”