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NKU Women's Basketball Coach Cleared Of Any Wrongdoing, Report Finds

The Northerner
Coach Camryn Whitaker says she "cares deeply about the women in our program, both as student-athletes and people."

An independent review looking into allegations of emotional abuse by the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball coach concludes the claims are unfounded.

In March, the university retained DBL Law to conduct a comprehensive review after former player Taryn Taugher made the allegations in an online editorial. DBL Law interviewed nearly three dozen people and determined comments made by Coach Camryn Whitaker were not unexpected from a collegiate coach and were not inappropriate, personal, vulgar or emotionally abusive.

There were five separate incidents where Whitaker was alleged to have engaged in conduct that was abusive. Two were in the context of a game, involving hitting a whiteboard with her hand and crumpling up an empty paper towel tube. In another incident, she allegedly made players run because another player left the gym for a medical condition. The report concluded making players run during practice is not abuse. Other claims could not be substantiated, the reviewers found.

"A majority of players stated that the comments were motivational in nature and not personal," according to the report.

Other key findings:

"Some of the players discussed that they felt Whitaker created a culture of isolation. One expressed concern about being isolated during road trips because she was given her own hotel room. She alleges that this isolation occurred at the direction of Whitaker. During our interviews we discovered that due to an odd number of players, one player had a single room during road trips. The single room was rotated between the senior players."
There were clearly some personal issues and dissension among the team. However, this cannot be attributed to emotional abuse by Whitaker. It was related to dynamics among some of the players, lack of playing time, upset parents, and losing seasons. Players who were not receiving playing time felt Whitaker favored other players and this caused resentment. An overall environment of frustration was evident in the WBB which clearly led to division among the team.

"I care deeply about the women in our program, both as student-athletes and people," Whitaker says in a statement. "As we work to build a program everyone can be proud of and support, this experience gives us the opportunity to reflect on the growth and development as coaches and players in our program."

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