Decision expected on Terp women's complaints Athletic officials meet with coach and team

March 18, 1997|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

Maryland athletic department officials are expected to reach a decision tomorrow regarding complaints from disgruntled members of the women's basketball team.

Sources close to the team said assistant athletic director Patricia Nicol, who supervises the women's basketball team, met with coach Chris Weller and the team yesterday and pledged that the matter would be settled by tomorrow.

Two weeks ago, six Maryland players presented a list of complaints about the program to Nicol and other athletic department officials, who said they would wait until the season was over to address their concerns.

Maryland, which last week received an NCAA tournament bid for the first time in four years, was eliminated in the first round by Purdue, 74-48, last Friday.

Meanwhile, the father of one of the six players who met with Nicol accused the athletic department of dragging its feet on the matter, after he presented some of the same concerns in early January.

Greg Richie, whose daughter, redshirt sophomore guard Kelley Gibson, suffered a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in late January, said he talked with Nicol and athletic director Debbie Yow before his daughter's injury.

Richie said he presented Nicol and Yow with a number of concerns about how Gibson and other players were being treated by the coaching staff, but has spoken only sporadically with athletic officials since then.

"I have some concerns about the care and well-being of the student-athletes that are brought into this university," said Richie. "I, as a parent, was instructed to wait and learn, but I'm not expected to care."

Richie said he was concerned that the players, whom he said have endured name-calling and intimidation, would be labeled as spoiled troublemakers, in much the same fashion that Orlando Magic players were branded after their coach, Brian Hill, was fired earlier this year.

"Does this athletic department expect these young ladies to carry the stigma of replacing the coach? I don't want my daughter to fill out an application and have the person on the other side of the desk say, 'Oh, you got Chris Weller fired,' " said Richie. "They [the players] have endured an entire season of intimidation, scrutiny and [having people] looking over their shoulder. They've had enough."

Gibson, who was the fourth-leading scorer, but the Terps' most versatile player, suffered the second ACL tear of her career with less than 10 seconds to go in Maryland's 79-59 win over Florida State on Jan. 30. The same ligament in her right knee was torn three years ago.

Pub Date: 3/18/97

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