Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Women's Hoops Coach Mum about Exodus of 4 Freshmen

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Women's Hoops Coach Mum about Exodus of 4 Freshmen

Article excerpt

Four freshmen players on the University of Evansville women's basketball team - all once highly touted by head coach Oties Epps - won't return for their sophomore seasons. Why? Epps isn't saying.

The players - Dakota Weatherford, Caitlyn Russell, Kenzie Gustin and Paris McLeod - aren't talking either. The university reportedly had them sign confidentiality agreements before releasing them from their scholarships.

There's really nothing unusual about such "don't burn the bridges" policies. Like corporations, most NCAA institutions excel at keeping dirty laundry behind closed doors - at least until the Freedom of Information requests start flowing in.

As a private college, UE doesn't have to sweat responding to most FOI requests. Still, someone at the school needs to realize silence isn't always golden. At times, it may even be more damning.

When asked about the departures Thursday, Epps' response was, "I don't want to talk about that. I have no comment on that."

When asked if the players had requested transfers to other schools, he suggested I call the school's sports information of- fice.

It was an odd response. A sports information staff works to serve its athletic department, and the only meaningful comments about the departure of any student-athlete would come from a head coach.

It was Tuesday when it was first noticed the players no longer were listed on the school's online roster. As of Thursday, no news release about the departures had been issued by UE's sports information department. But again, that's not surprising at UE.

Aces coaches and athletic department administrators have a history of trying to control the message that gets aired in public.

When junior forward Ryan Sawvell left the men's basketball team in December, head coach Marty Simmons also declined to answer questions. But at least he finally did address the departure with a tersely worded statement in a news release: "Ryan Sawvell has left our program and will move in a different direction. …

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