“It was basically like a torture mechanism.” – Erin DeGrate |
Texas Tech women’s basketball staff allegedly fostered ‘toxic culture’ of psychological abuse, sexual harassment |
Aug 6, 2020 |
Fox News – The Texas Tech University women’s basketball team came under scrutiny Wednesday as a report accused coach Marlene Stollings and her staff of fostering a culture of abuse that has led to several players transferring from the program.
Players told USA Today that a heart-monitoring system was misused in punitive ways, they had to endure demeaning and threatening comments and were subjected to sexually suggestive behavior from a strength coach who has since resigned from the program.
The players made the comments over the last two years in season-ending exit interviews and the comments were obtained by The Intercollegiate.
“It was basically like a torture mechanism,” Erin DeGrate told USA Today. “I feel like the system wasn’t being used how she was using it.”
DeGrate played two seasons with the Lady Raiders before transferring to Louisville and eventually winning a national championship with Baylor as a graduate transfer.
Emma Merriweather, a 6′ 5″ center, told the newspaper she was mocked about her weight in front of the men’s basketball team and admonished over showing signs of depression, for which she was later diagnosed.
Merriweather added that she intended to register her dog as an emotional support animal.
Stollings allegedly arranged for a booster – who Merriweather didn’t know – to take the pet away.
She tweeted after the story was published that “coach pulled me aside a week after owning him to tell me that he was going to distract me from basketball.”
Several other players recalled being berated with remarks like “fat pig” and “grossly out of shape.”
“It was just the feeling of fear, anxiety, depression,” Mia Castaneda told USA Today.
“And it wasn’t just a few people. It was our entire team. They were breaking not just athletes, they were breaking people … ”