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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

No Evidence After Abuse, Racism Claims Made At U Of I Women's Basketball

University of Illinois / illinois.edu

An outside investigation of women’s basketball at the University of Illinois’s Urbana campus has found no evidence to support claims of abuse or racism by former players.

And athletic director Mike Thomas and Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise say there will be no personnel changes after seeing the findings by the Chicago law firm hired by the university to conduct the investigation. But they do expect other changes within U of I women’s basketball and other sports, and some of those were in the works before the lawsuit surfaced.

Recommendations made by the firm of Pugh Jones and Johnson include giving student athletes more avenues to make their concerns heard and having more clear standards for coaches’ conduct.

Thomas says there will also be changes in the education and training of both athletes and coaches.

“It’s things that we can do internally within our staff, and our training and education, and also bring in people from the outside who deal with this at the national level – different consultants,” Thomas said. “Some of them have already been our campus, and some are still to come.  It’s a variety of things that we’ll be looking at, and I think when you combine all of them, it will only strengthen what I think is a pretty good program already.”

Meanwhile, the attorney for the seven former women’s basketball players suing the U of I says the Pugh report will have no effect on their lawsuit. Terry Ekl says his clients were not expecting a “thorough, unbiased investigation” by a firm hired by the University. 

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