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NKU To Conduct Independent Review Of Women's Basketball Program

The Northerner
NKU women's basketball coach Camryn Whitaker couldn't be reached for comment. She's accused of verbal and emotional abuse by one of her players.

Updated: April 2, 9:45 a.m.

In response to new concerns raised by former women's basketball student-athletes, Northern Kentucky University says it will conduct an independent, external review and assessment of the program. The  claims involve alleged emotional and verbal abuse by Coach Camryn Whitaker.

One former player making claims is senior Taryn Taugher. She was the first to allege Coach Whitaker had been abusive in this editorial, asking the Norse Nation to "Please read ASAP!"

Taugher says in her article, "There is a deep, dark, hidden secret that lies within the women's basketball program at Northern Kentucky University which has been swept under the rug by the athletic department for three years."

She says she and others say they met with NKU's Title IX director and the athletic director about the coach's behavior and it fell on deaf ears.

NKU does not say if Whitaker did anything wrong and says, "We recognize the courage it takes to share personal stories. We have taken these complaints seriously and they have been thoroughly reviewed separately by the Title IX and Athletics offices."

"There are ongoing efforts to improve communications and relationships between the program's leadership and student-athletes," the NKU statement says. "We are committed to fostering a safe, healthy and inclusive learning environment for anyone who is a part of our campus community."

The university goes on to say its "students' voices will be heard" and that the athletics office "will continue to monitor and assess our programs, taking appropriate corrective actions as needed."

Taryn Taugher says the coach turned her into an emotional punching bag. "I have been one of them from the first day Camryn Whitaker stepped onto the court for our first practice in June 2016."

And Taugher acknowledges the claims are hard to prove.

"These verbal attacks were mostly behind closed doors, in her office, on what she liked to call the 'crying couch' where it was your word against hers. Where she could get you alone and tear you apart," she writes. "These meetings were mostly done weekly and before games, so you were so messed up from your beat-up session that you couldn't possibly play well by game time. Personal attacks on your family, personality, work-ethic, and body physique were also not uncommon."

Her claims appear to be backed by a parent in this Facebook post.

Coach Whitaker referred all comments to an NKU spokeswoman. Her Twitter account appears to have been removed.

NKU hired Whitaker in 2016. She was a former assistant coach at the University of Kentucky and the University of Dayton.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.