This off-season's mass exodus of Syracuse Orange women’s basketball players has earned plenty of attention from SU-related outlets, this one included. But national coverage had been minimal — until Tuesday morning, that is.
The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings and Dana O’Neill published a lengthy story about the troubling culture around Orange women’s basketball, led by Head Coach Quentin Hillsman. Speaking with nine former players and 19 others, The Athletic report includes alleged threats, outbursts, inappropriate touching and a culture of sowing discontent.
There’s also the note that Hillsman allegedly created a staff position for friend Ronnie Enoch, SU’s current director of recruiting and player performance, despite him being dismissed from a previous coaching job due to accusations of sexual harassment (more on his ouster at NC Central here).
According to the piece, several former players discuss lodging complaints with Syracuse, without any follow-up in return. Jennings and O’Neill joined The Lead podcast to detail the report further, and the complaints from players appear to paint a very problematic environment in terms of Hillsman’s individual interactions.
Additionally, while we already knew about the Title IX complaint against Hillsman back in 2011 (he denied it, Syracuse reviewed and found no wrongdoing, and the outcome of the claim isn’t apparent), it does take on some additional importance in hindsight.
There will be plenty more to come out around this now as a result of the piece, so we’re far from done with stories — or the confirmed investigation from Syracuse that will follow. SU itself also displays its own problems here as an institution. If the allegations around exit interviews, feedback and complaints are all accurate, along with relative inaction around them, it shows a school unresponsive to player (and especially female player) complaints. Even worse, perhaps, is the hire of Enoch despite his dismissal due to harassment accusations at a previous stop.
Former Orange guard Tiana Mangakahia tweeted a statement of apparent support for Hillsman on Tuesday that attempted to call at least some of the reporting into question. There are some unproven accusations included in there, too. Again, we’re a long way from discovering the full story just yet. But if true — or really, if even aspects of it are true — this would be grounds for Syracuse making a head coaching change.