The University of Illinois has settled a 2015 federal lawsuit filed by members of the women's basketball team who alleged they were subjected to racially segregated practices and racial stereotypes by some of the coaching staff.
In an announcement Tuesday, the university said it had settled with the seven plaintiffs for $375,000, and that "an outside investigation found no evidence to support those claims."
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Amarah Coleman, Alexis Smith, Taylor Tuck, Nia Oden, Sarah Livingston, Taylor Gleason, and Jacqui Grant alleged that coaches Matt Bollant and Mike Divilbiss had created a racially discriminatory environment for players during the basketball seasons ending in 2014 and 2015.
In the lawsuit, the players alleged there were racially segregated practices and hotel room assignments and referring to practices for black players as "the dog pound." White players, they alleged, would be relegated to "the dog pound" practices for associating with and defending black teammates.
The university also said Tuesday associate head coach Mike Divilbiss had left the program in May 2015.
In tandem with the settlement, university announced the following steps to "prevent a reoccurrence of the alleged conduct in this case."
* Establishing a code of conduct for all coaches regarding their interaction with players.
* Appointing a compliance officer to ensure compliance with the coaches' code of conduct.
* Enhanced efforts to inform student-athletes concerning the resources available to them for reporting and seeking assistance should problems exist with a coach.
* Enhanced racial sensitivity training for coaches and staff members.
The university also announced Tuesday a settlement with former football coach Tim Beckman, who'd brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school in September 2015.
The university said it fired Beckman for cause after allegations from multiple players that he had made them play through injuries and had not properly reported player injuries.
The school will pay Beckman "a one-time payment of $250,000" to resolve the issue and "stands by its decision to terminate Coach Beckman for cause, but recognizes that terminating him without cause was another possible alternative."
Lindsey Adler is a sports reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Lindsey Adler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.