A college basketball coach accused of physically and mentally abusing his players and staff as well as making racist comments was not fired. Despite the effective proof of more than two dozen people going on record with the allegations and an investigation into the claims, Gregg Marshall was not only allowed to resign from his position at Wichita State University but he also walked away with a nearly $8 million payout.
Marshall officially stepped down Tuesday, nearly a month after the Athletic published the bombshell reports he assaulted one of his former players and a staff member and tried to do the same to a student-athlete who played another sport. On top of that, Marshall also allegedly made racially and ethnically insensitive comments to his players.
Although it was in shame, Marshall was allowed to resign with the assurance of receiving millions of dollars instead of being fired on the spot without any financial severance or settlement like other coaches have been for doing less.
Marshall was given the opportunity to spin the awful narrative of his alleged mental and physical abuse during into one of his own benevolence. His “decision” to resign “was necessary for my family, the university and, most importantly, the student-athletes,” Marshall said in his letter of resignation without addressing the true nature of his departure from the successful basketball program he led for 13 seasons.
Specifically, former player Shaquille Morris claimed Marshall punched him during a practice on the same day he told his coach his mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Morris said he was assaulted by Marshall for trying to help up from the floor a teammate whom he had fouled.
Perhaps even more egregiously, Marshall was accused of mocking the body of a player who allegedly as a result is currently coping with depression and anxiety. Beyond that, Marshall also allegedly made “Indian howling noises” at a Native American player who he told “to get back on his horse.” Taking that alleged racism a step further, Marshall is accused of telling a player from Colombia that he would make “a great coffee bean picker.” Finally, Marshall allegedly and Marshall mocked a white player by implying he was afraid of Black players he reportedly described as “brothers, guys raised by their grandparents eating PB&Js.”
One respected college basketball analyst compared Marshall’s settlement of $7.75 million and voluntary resignation to how the University of Connecticut fired its former coach Kevin Ollie “for minor rules violations” without giving him any kind of payout. Marshall, who has coached Wichita State to the Final Four twice, is white. Ollie, who won a national championship for UConn, is Black.
With an annual salary of $3.5 million, Marshall had been one of the top paid college basketball coaches. Now, he gets to walk away with more than twice that.
On the flip side, the University of Louisville fired Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino without any severance pay for his alleged involvement in arranging to pay a star athlete to play and purported knowledge of a graduate assistant paying exotic dancers to perform for the team at parties. At the time in 2017, Pitino was the highest-paid college coach earning just about the same $7.7 million that Marshall gets to pocket on his way out of Wichita State.
Conversely, the University of California at Berkeley in 1996 did not fire Todd Bozeman — who is Black — and allowed him to resign from coaching the men’s basketball team after admitting to paying $30,000 to a recruit’s family to travel to games. It was unclear whether Bozeman received a severance payout from Cal, but the NCAA hit him with an eight-year show-cause order that prevented any college from hiring him in that time period.
As of Wednesday morning, the NCAA has been mum on the circumstances surrounding Marshall’s resignation. In contrast, the NCAA suspended Pitino — who is white — for just five conference games over what was widely regarded as a sex scandal.
Marshall, for his part, has denied assaulting any of his players. “I simply state unequivocally that I have never physically struck a player or colleague,” Marshall said in a statement after the allegations were first made public in early October. “Allegations claiming otherwise are false.”
Absent from Marshall’s statement was any mention of the allegations of racist comments.
Meanwhile, in an act of apparent proof of Marshall’s allegations, seven of his players moved to transfer from Wichita State this past year alone, an alarmingly elevated number by any standard for any college basketball program.