September 22, 2010
When they kicked a player out of practice last Thursday, the UNC Wilmington women's basketball coaches decided it wouldn’t be wise to make her run wind sprints since she suffers from plantar fasciitis.
The new punishment they unveiled instead probably wasn't the best choice either.
Junior guard Julia Finlay was forced to lie on her back and log roll from baseline to baseline for about 30 minutes at Trask Coliseum on Monday afternoon, according to the Wilmington Star-News. Under the supervision of assistant coach Johnetta Hayes, Finlay made about a dozen trips down the court, vomiting three times during the episode.
UNC Wilmington women's basketball coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke apologized publicly for the punishment on Tuesday and also called Finlay's parents to say that she was sorry. Cooper-Dyke, a two-time WNBA MVP with the Houston Comets, told the Star-News that she was out of town when the punishment took place and that Hayes came up with the idea for the log rolls.
"It was never meant to demean or degrade or in any way hurt anyone," Cooper-Dyke said. "Certainly not our program and first and foremost Julia." [...]
"That idea, that drill, will never happen again. [...] I assured her parents of this as well. It's just a situation where we were looking for some alternatives – bad choice."
There are probably old-school athletes chuckling to themselves about how they endured hazing rituals or wind sprints worse than this, but consider how disorienting more than 1,000 feet of log rolls must be. Most people can't even do the relay race where you put your forehead on a baseball bat and spin around 10 times without drunkenly staggering around and falling flat on their face.
The good news from the UNC Wilmington incident is that Finlay apparently didn't suffer any injuries from her punishment. It remains to be seen whether Cooper-Dyke or her staff will face any penalties because school officials aren't commenting that just yet.
"I have determined that a serious error in judgment was made by a member of our women's basketball coaching staff with the implementation of a rolling drill," (athletic director Kelly) Mehrtens said Tuesday night in a statement. "The well-being of our student-athletes is always first and foremost on our minds. I have spoken to the student-athlete involved with the incident and have assured her that this will never happen again."
Assuming the UNC Wilmington coaches are still looking for alternative punishments, maybe they can consult the Alabama parents referenced in the previous post. Sending their preschool-aged son to the Auburn store was pretty effective, so perhaps they have creative ideas on how to discipline older kids.