The University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and University of Missouri System President Mun Y. Choi have released a joint statement pertaining the lawsuit South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley filed against athletic director Jim Sterk, per Dave Matter.
We remain confident in University of Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk. Since he came here in August 2016, Jim has exhibited a passion for our student athletes and their success and safety both on and off the court. He has proven himself to be an excellent administrator.
On Thursday, it was reported that Staley had filed a defamation lawsuit against Sterk. The lawsuit stems from what Sterk said about Staley following an intense matchup between the Gamecocks and Tigers in Columbia, S.C., when it was alleged that South Carolina fans spit on Missouri players.
“It wasn’t a great atmosphere. It was really kind of unhealthy, if you will,” Sterk said. “We had players spit on and called the N-word and things like that. It was not a good environment, and unfortunately I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it’s unfortunate she felt she had to do that. It wasn’t good.”
“The accusations are serious and false. It’s going to be handled, but not right here, and not in the manner in which they were dealt. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
In the lawsuit, Staley is seeking an award of no more than $75,000.
The SEC announced on Thursday that Sterk is fined $25,000 and reprimanded by the league office, and that the conference will review the game management procedures and visiting team security at South Carolina.
“Both Missouri and South Carolina have cultivated highly successful women’s basketball programs, which enjoy tremendous fan support and have earned the respect of this office,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “While we always appreciate a healthy level of competitive intensity on the court, there is no place in this league for discord inside or outside of the arena. I have had multiple conversations over the past few weeks with representatives of both schools about the problems emanating from their January 28 game and it has been my desire for those issues to be mutually resolved between the athletic programs and individuals involved. Unfortunately, a mutual resolution does not appear imminent. Our hope is that we can direct our focus back where it belongs – on our student-athletes and on-court competition.”
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