ETSU announces plan to terminate Women’s Basketball Coach Simon Harris following Title IX allegations | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Women’s Basketball Head Coach Simon Harris is being fired after one season following complaints by two gamers that he enacted an invalid group rule after which disciplined these gamers with out verifying the accusations.

A letter dated Monday, Aug. 1 from ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland to Harris calls the coach’s habits surrounding the gamers and the rule “unconscionable” and lists a number of wrongs that an Office of University Compliance investigation discovered the coach to have dedicated. Harris is suspended with pay till his termination turns into official on Aug. 15

Harris coached only one yr at ETSU, main the group to a 6-22 general document, together with a 5-9 mark within the Southern Conference and a first-round exit within the Southern Conference match.

Noland’s letter outlines the compliance workplace findings and says the rule in query was “inconsistent with the University’s mission” and violates ETSU’s anti-discrimination coverage and “could violate Title IX.”

Two former gamers alleged that Harris punished them for violating the “invalid rule” earlier than verifying the accusations.

“You took disciplinary motion towards the gamers primarily based on the invalid group rule, however you failed to present even essentially the most fundamental components of equity to the gamers,” the letter written to Harris reads. “You didn’t inform the gamers of the allegations towards them. Nor did you enable the gamers a good alternative to reply to the allegations.”

Two group members performed simply seven video games final season, with no appearances following the Nov. 28, 2021 sport towards Coastal Carolina: Jaila Roberts and Kaia Upton. Roberts, a sophomore switch guard from North Alabama, was main the group in scoring at 11.9 factors per sport and averaging 4.1 rebounds in nearly half-hour per sport.

Upton, one other guard, was averaging 4.9 factors and a pair of.9 assists whereas taking part in greater than 26 minutes per sport. Neither participant’s title seems on the group’s 2021-22 roster web page on the Bucs’ web site.

Only two different gamers didn’t play the entire season in accordance to the group’s statistics web page, though each their names and bios nonetheless present up on the 2021-22 roster web page. Jamir Huston, a junior ahead who had transferred from the University of Miami, performed via a Dec. 13 loss to Wake Forest. Huston was averaging 7.4 factors and 5.1 rebounds in 19 minutes per sport via that time.

Damiah Griffin, additionally a switch, was a junior final yr who performed in 12 video games up via Feb. 5, averaging 6.6 factors and a pair of.7 rebounds in 20 minutes per contest. None of the 4 gamers is on the 2022-23 roster.

The college’s findings allege that after Harris dismissed the gamers, he tried to cancel their scholarships mid-year “with out justification for doing so.” This, the college famous, is a potential violation of NCAA guidelines.

In addition to these allegations, the college wrote within the compliance report that Harris allegedly used one in all his gamers “to search details about the disciplined gamers in trade for help along with her authorized and educational considerations.”

“This morning, a ultimate compliance report is being supplied to former members of our girls’s basketball group in response to a Title IX grievance,” ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland mentioned. “The findings outlined within the report have induced me severe concern, because it paints an image of unconscionable habits by Coach Harris that’s in direct contradiction to the establishment’s mission and values.

“The report particulars a number of moral and coverage violations and raises questions concerning potential failures to adjust to NCAA guidelines. Subsequently, I’ve directed Interim Athletic Director, Dr. Richard Sander, to start an investigation into whether or not or not NCAA violations have occurred. In the spirit of self-accountability promoted by the NCAA, we are going to report any potential findings instantly.”

Harris has the proper to attraction the findings within the compliance report and to pursue decision via the college’s worker grievance and grievance procedures outlined in its Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.

ETSU officers directed Harris not to work together with present or potential student-athletes or different members of the athletic division. He has been employed on the college since March 19, 2021, and beforehand labored as an assistant coach at Ohio State, in accordance to Harris’ bio on the ETSU athletic web site.

The complete letter may be learn beneath.

A brand new head coach will likely be named at a later date.

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