The University of Illinois has reached a $375,000 settlement with seven former women’s basketball players, who say their coaches created a ‘racially hostile environment.’
The agreement also calls for a series of reforms in U of I athletics that both sides agree should keep the alleged behavior from occurring in the future. The reforms include a code of conduct for how coaches to interact with players, the appointment of a compliance officer, and enhanced racial sensitivity training for athletic staff.
Attorney Pat Provenzale represents the players, and says these changes were key to reaching a settlement.
“Ensure that there was a structure in place that whoever was in those positions – whether it be coach, athletic director, whatever – are bound by a set of rules and oversight that make sure that this type of conduct doesn’t happen again,” Provenzale said.
The players in a joint statement, said they were happy to see the reforms put in place, and that the U of I’s current administration was acting in the best interests of the student athlete.
In a statement, head women’s coach Matt Bollant said, “I sincerely apologize that these players did not have the positive experiences we desire and expect.”
The financial settlement will be voted on by the U of I’s Board of Trustees at its May 19 meeting.
The U of I Tuesday also announced a negotiated $250,000 settlement with Tim Beckman, who was fired as head football coach in 2015 over the handling of athletes’ injuries.