Wisconsin-Green Bay initiates investigation of alleged verbal abuse of player by coach Brian Wardle

Kyle Ringo

Wisconsin Green Bay is investigating alleged verbal mistreatment of a former walk-on player by men's basketball coach Brian Wardle, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

The news comes on the heels of Rutgers making headlines nationally this season because of abuse of players by former coach Mike Rice, who was fired after video surfaced of him throwing balls at players and pushing and hitting players along with verbal abuse earlier in his coaching tenure.

The parents of former Wisconsin-Green Bay center Ryan Bross allege their son was verbally and emotionally mistreated by Wardle but he was not physically abused. The school has asked an outside agency to investigate the allegations.

Bross has announced plans to transfer to Concordia University. He is one of four players who have left the program since mid-February.

Wardle has a 47-49 record in three seasons coaching the Phoenix. This season was his best to date. The program went 18-16 and finished third in the Horizon League. Wardle is being allowed to work during the investigation.

"I will be supportive of this process and I'm confident in the findings," Wardle said in a statement. "I will have no further comment until it is concluded."

One of the major criticisms of the Rutgers situation was the school's reaction to the allegations against Rice, even after officials saw videos of his mistreatment of players. Wisconsin Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden appears to have learned from Rutgers' mistakes.

"We're acting quickly," he told the Press-Gazette. "We're going to move assertively and bring this to a conclusion as fast as we can."

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