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Cincinnati places men's basketball coach John Brannen on leave after rash of transfers

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Cincinnati coach John Brannen has been suspended.

The school placed Brannen on leave Saturday afternoon as it conducts an investigation into unspecified allegations.

“University of Cincinnati Director of Athletics John Cunningham announced men’s basketball head coach John Brannen has been placed on paid administrative leave as of Saturday, April 3, 2021, pending the completion of a University review into the program,” the school's statement said. “The University announced on March 26 it was reviewing allegations related to the program along with independent fact finders.”

According to The Athletic, the investigation comes after an external review was launched in March. That review came after six players — including four members of the team's 2020 recruiting class — announced that they were transferring.

From The Athletic:

The university’s review of allegations is believed to be exploring the potential of a for-cause firing of Brannen. The coach’s suspension will last until the external review is complete, sources said. Brannen will have no official duties with the program during that time. No other suspensions were handed down by the university, and there is no timeline for the review to be completed, according to sources.

Brannen has retained well-known attorney Tom Mars. Mars has represented numerous players in college sports in transfer matters. Mars was the attorney for Justin Fields when the QB transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and Mars helped numerous Ole Miss players receive transfer waivers after Hugh Freeze was fired at the school. 

Cincinnati went 12-11 in 2020-21

Brannen recently completed his second season at Cincinnati. He was hired by the Bearcats after Mick Cronin left for UCLA. Brannen’s suspension was, coincidentally, announced on the same day that Cronin’s Bruins took on Gonzaga in the Final Four.

Cincinnati went 12-11 in 2020-21 after going 20-10 in 2019-20. The Bearcats made it to the AAC tournament championship game after beating SMU and Wichita State. But Cincy failed to make the NCAA tournament after losing 91-54 to Final Four team Houston in the conference title game.

Brannen came to Cincinnati after four seasons at Northern Kentucky. He was 81-51 at Northern Kentucky and the team made the NCAA tournament twice in his four seasons there.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 21: Cincinnati Bearcats head coach John Brannen calls out to this team during the first half of a game against the Houston Cougars at the Fertitta Center on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
John Brannen has been at Cincinnati for two seasons. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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