Claims of Abuse Spark Investigation into GWU Coach
The investigation will be conducted by an outside counsel.
George Washington University announced the beginning of an independent investigation into its head basketball coach after several players reported verbal and emotional abuse.
The July 21 announcement comes after several players anonymously complained about head coach Mike Lonergan’s treatment of them, reports wtop.com.
The investigation, which the school termed a Title IX review where “some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX,” will be conducted by an outside counsel.
The university had previously addressed student concerns with Lonergan, but the coach has never been disciplined. One student who told the Washington Post he complained of Lonergan’s abusive behavior to Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad was told the issue “had been handled.”
Players requesting not to be named claim Lonergan’s remarks were frequently offensive. The coach reportedly told one player to transfer to the transgender league and another that his son would always be on food stamps. One friend of a player described the athlete’s experience as going “through hell.”
“I will not respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations,”Lonergan said in a statement. “These types of accusations have already been investigated by the University and found to be groundless. Those who know me know that I conduct myself and run my program with integrity.”
Over Lonergan’s five years as head coach at the university, 13 basketball players had transferred from the team. Country-wide, the transfer rate for college basketball athletes has more than doubled in the past five years.
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