Syracuse University officials made aware of allegations against Hillsman as early as 2009, says 'The Athletic'

Photo credit: AP Photo/Robert Franklin

One day after his resignation as head coach of the Syracuse women's basketball program, an article from 'The Athletic' details more allegations against Quentin Hillsman from former players.

Posted: Aug 3, 2021 6:06 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2021 6:30 PM

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Quentin Hillsman resigned as the head coach of the Syracuse University women's basketball program on Monday after 15 years at the helm. On Tuesday, more details into allegations against him have surfaced.

A new article from Chantel Jennings and Dana O'Neil of The Athletic, who co-authored the initial report on allegations against Hillsman in June, has been published that claims Syracuse University officials were made aware of complaints and concerns surrounding the former Orange head coach, as far back as 2009.

The story details multiple specific instances where Hillsman is accused of mental and emotional abuse including fear tactics, manipulation, gaslighting techniques, and humiliation tactics against various players within the program over the past decade.

In one example within the article, Hillsman threatened former player, Troya Berry, that she wouldn't play in the next game if she used her inhaler while on the verge of an athsma attack. This instance happened while running punishment sprints following a Jan. 30, 2010 loss to then No. 3 Notre Dame.

This was confirmed by multiple sources interviewed within the article.

In an interview with The Athletic for the story, Berry said of her four year career at Syracuse: "It changed my life. I fell out of love with basketball, and that was everything to me."

The article also details a variety of cases where university officials, including senior women's administrator Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick and former athletic director Daryl Gross, were directly informed of allegations against Hillsman via anonymous letters, formal filings of Title IX complaints, in student-athlete questionnaires, and in exit interviews with outgoing student-athletes.

In many of these instances over the past decade, the article alleges that no action was taken or that student-athletes and/or their parents were informed that their complaints were not sufficient enough to "constitute a hostile environment," where action was required.

One such example of this was in the case of former player Lynnae Lampkins, who claims she was subjected to significant emotional abuse and once received a text from Hillsman in the summer of 2010 that said "I love you, I miss you, I cant wait to see you."

Lampkins' father, who knew Hillsman prior to Lynnae attending Syracuse University, sent a text to Hillsman once asking for an explanation, but never received a response.

Following that, he wrote a letter to then-AD Gross requesting a meeting, but was eventually informed that no action would be taken after they met.

According to The Athletic, Gross' response said "We are happy with the coaching results of the program, as we have had the best years in the history of SU women's basketball under coach Hillsman's leadership.''

Additionally, the article states that on multiple occasions, Hillsman was informed by compliance officials within the university of the allegations made against him, without conducting an investigation into them.

Hillsman then vowed to find the "rat in the room," during team meetings.

One former player said Hillsman told the team: "Y'all think you can go to them? They called me the second you told them."

The article says that according to former players, Hillsman sewed division within the program with favoritism, telling some players that they were "safe," while others were not.

Following her playing career at Syracuse, one player said she started therapy because of her treatment from Hillsman.

"The worst part is that I truly hate basketball because of him," she said. "It's difficult not being able to watch the sport I played for 20 years."

Many other players did not come forward initially due to fear of retribution, or the feeling that university officials wouldn't do anything even if they did speak out.

This occurred with former player Tyler Ash, who prevented her mother from sending an email with complaints about her experience in 2010.

When asked why she stopped her mother from sending the email, Ash said: "The university wasn't going to stop him."

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