Seven former women’s basketball players at the University of Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit against the university and the board of trustees claiming that the head coach and the assistant coach created a racially hostile environment for African American players.
The lawsuit claims that the coaches held racially segregated practices and disciplined Black players more severely than White players for similar offenses. The suit alleges that Black players were called “crabs” and were referred to as “unintelligent” by the coaching staff.
Phyllis Wise, chancellor of the University of Illinois, earlier had launched an investigation into alleged abuses in the women’s basketball program. That investigation is still underway. In a statement, Chancellor Wise said “I cannot stress enough that anytime we learn that a student feels the experience at Illinois isn’t excellent, we take those concerns seriously.”