Brandon Wade / Associated Press
A report by USA TodayJori Epstein and Daniel Libit published on Wednesday revealed what Texas Tech players called “a culture of addiction “within the Red Raiders women̵
Marlene Stollings took over as head coach in April 2018 after leaving her job in Minnesota. Since her arrival, 12 players have moved out, and Stollings had personally recruited seven of the players per Epstein and Libit:
“In the correspondence between five players to the NCAA regarding exemptions from transfers [Emma] Merriweather too [Marcella] LaMark, they described the Texas Tech program as an “extremely unhealthy” and “toxic environment” where players were “beaten” and “deteriorated”, according to copies obtained by US TODAY Sports. And in the initial interviews, which were anonymous, the players addressed the excursion in an incomprehensible way.
“It’s not a lack of talent or a lack of play,” one player wrote. “It has respect for themselves that they recognize a toxic environment when they see one.”
Epstein and Libit shared a statement from the Liberal director Kirby Hocutt, who said that an employee had resigned due to accusations made by players and that the school carried out an investigation:
“In addition, based on the information received, we conducted an in – depth program review of our female basketball program. … I have thoroughly discussed this review with Coach Stollings and am convinced that we are taking appropriate action to improve the relationship and communication between coaches and students. athletes so that we can continue to grow the success of our program both on and off the track. “
Stollings was also quoted in the paragraph:
“Our administration and my staff believe in how we build and turn this program around here. Our student athletes develop a disciplined strategy both on and off the court.
“I want our students, fans and students to know that we are committed to winning championships at Texas Tech and doing it the right way through hard work, responsibility and hard determination.”
The players’ portraits differed considerably, with Merriweather called the Stollings “evil and manipulative and waving in a calmly diluted way. “
The former Texas Tech Center was diagnosed with depression and experienced panic attacks due to her anxiety. She expressed the lack of support she felt from Texas Tech’s coaching staff and told Epstein and Libit that she “scolded for showing symptoms of depression.”
Merriweather also claimed that Stollings removed his dog, called him a “distraction” and asked boosters if they wanted to take the dog. “She just tore him from me,” Merriweather said.
The charges were not limited to Stollings.
Some players said that former strength and fitness coach Ralph Petrella spoke negatively about their weight and “exerted pressure near the chest and groin “while demonstrating reflective performance restoration techniques. One player claimed that he left inappropriate comments on the question she asked if he “used” her.
The school’s title IX administrator, Stollings and then Hocutt were contacted by a player in March after a one-on-one meeting with Petrella. She said he “exerted pressure on her pubic bone, went under her sports bra to reach a chest pressure point and went under her spandex shorts to reach an area near her groin. ”
After being informed of the allegations, Hocutt said Petrella had resigned from her role a day earlier. Through legal representation, Petrella denied “some inappropriate behavior while employed by the Texas Tech University women’s basketball program “and said he resigned voluntarily after the 2020 season.
Red Raiders assistant coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins previously trained in New Mexico State, where she was the subject of an investigation into physical and mental abuse within that program. Merriweather claimed that Lowry Dawkins instructed her to fasten her wrist with a rubber band “every time she had a negative thought.”