Southern Methodist University women’s basketball coach Travis Mays is in some serious hot water after EIGHT different players alleged he told them to kill themselves if they weren’t going to compete during a practice in the 2017-18 season, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The report also said that Mays was “needlessly cutting players from the roster, threatening to speak negatively to future employers and taking issue with a player not running due to injury.”
Former player Klara Bradshaw offered her first-hand account in a blog post published in late January.
“If y’all don’t want to get it together, if y’all don’t get together and get connected, you might as well go and commit suicide,” Bradshaw wrote of Mays’ message to his players following a practice that he wasn’t happy with.
Bradshaw, who was a senior at the time, recalled how she immediately burst into tears because it had been just two years since her father had committed suicide. Despite knowing this information beforehand, Mays asked her why she was crying.
“I remember being like, ‘What?’ Like why would he just say that?” said Alicia Froling, who noted that she and everyone else had heard Bradshaw speak openly about her father’s suicide. “He just wasn’t — he didn’t care.”
Mays later apologized to Bradshaw via text message. The News has seen a copy of the message.
“Excuse the poor judgement of words,” he wrote. “Sorry to upset you. That wasn’t my intention.”
Another former player, McKenzie Adams, described her senior season at SMU to be “one of the most mentally traumatic experiences ever.”
Mays would eventually send out a statement to Dallas Morning news after the story surfaced.
“It’s one of those things where sometimes you can push,” Mays said as part of the statement. “And it’s our job to push people outside of their comfort zones. And sometimes you can say things, whether it’s using the wrong verbiage or at the wrong time when you don’t need to express some of that.”
SMU athletic Director Rick Hart admitted that several players met with him to report Mays’ behavior during the 2017-18 season, per the Morning News.
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“Any time we get feedback, we follow up on it, we discuss it, we share it,” Hart told the Morning News. “We try to figure out what’s going on, what we need to do differently — whether it’s communication or process or structural.”