Northern Kentucky women's basketball players allege abusive treatment from head coach

Jack Baer
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 27: Northern Kentucky Norse head coach Camryn Whitaker instructs Northern Kentucky Norse guard Molly Glick (24) during he third quarter of the women's college basketball game between the Northern Kentucky Norse and Cleveland State Vikings on January 27, 2018, at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, OH. Cleveland State defeated Northern Kentucky 72-49. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Camryn Whitaker is 29-64 in three seasons at Northern Kentucky. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A group of players on the Northern Kentucky women’s basketball team have gone public with claims of emotionally abusive treatment at the hands of head coach Camryn Whitaker, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Per the Enquirer, the university says it is investigating the claims.

Taryn Taugher, the only senior on the team, published a lengthy account on The Odyssey on Sunday of what it’s like to play under Whitaker and accused the NKU athletic department of being “willing to do anything to silence the multiple emotional abuse allegations.”

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Among the allegations against Whitaker that Taugher makes are:

  • Whitaker having what she called a “crying couch” in her office to privately berate players

  • threatening to take away players’ scholarships during practice

  • banning a player from a game and telling her teammates that she’s a “f—-ing bad friend and teammate" for wanting her parents present during a meeting

  • willfully isolating another player from the team, to the point where she had to eat and sleep alone on a road trip, and retaliating against a player who sat next to her on a bus

  • punishing players if their parents gave her “a look that she took as negative”

  • telling players not to talk to their parents during the season

  • making the team do sprints to humiliate a player with Crohn’s Disease while she went to the bathroom

  • kicking Taugher’s knees out from under her despite Taugher saying she has a spine condition, then walking away laughing

Per the Enquirer, three of the players mentioned in Taugher’s post confirmed her account of what happened with them on social media.

Taugher, who has appeared in every NKU game over the past two seasons, claims she ended her Northern Kentucky career a year early when Whitaker told her she would not honor her fifth year of eligibility. That apparently forced Taugher to change her major so she could graduate in time and prevented her from pursuing a field in which she wanted to attend graduate school.

Whitaker just finished her third season as head coach of Northern Kentucky, where she holds a 29-64 record. Per Taugher, she’s the first coach to oversee a losing season at Northern Kentucky since 1982, and has also seen eight players either quit or transfer from her program.

Obviously, there is a fine line between harsh motivational tactics and outright abuse. If what Taugher alleges is true, it’s hard to see Whitaker falling on the good side of that line.

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