Basketball players

Former Texas Southern basketball players allege abuse by Hall of Fame coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — In a report, published Thursday, Athleticism alleged that former Texas Southern University women’s basketball coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke used abusive and demeaning language towards players.

ABC13 confirmed that neither Cooper-Dyke nor his assistant coaches were permitted to have any contact with players outside of practices or games during the final three weeks of last season – a policy put in place by TSU.

Cooper-Dyke, a four-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, served twice as head coach at TSU with the recent season ending in March.

In the retirement announcement, athletic director Kevin Granger praised the Basketball Hall of Famer.

“Coach Cooper-Dyke has had a tremendous impact on TSU women’s basketball since his arrival and has propelled the program to new heights,” Granger said. “She will be missed as I wish her only success in her future endeavours.”

Still, in response to ABC13’s inquiries, the university said it could not provide further details.

“Given the confidential nature of Title IX and personnel matters, Texas Southern University is unable to comment,” said a statement provided to ABC13. “TSU takes all issues that impact the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff seriously to ensure a learning environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

A former TSU player, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC13 she lost the love of basketball while playing for Cooper-Dyke, alleging she was treated like a peasant.

“My experience was similar to everyone else’s,” the player explained. “When I came to Texas Southern, I thought the players were overdoing it when it came to training Cynthia. As I got time to play on the court, I felt like she was only looking to tear people down instead of building us up. I lost my love for basketball. She treated me and my teammates like peasants. If I had to go back and start over, I wouldn’t choose never to play under it.

“She always made sure to let us know she was the head in charge,” the player added. “I was shocked at how everything was going because I expected everything to be more structured since she was a Hall of Fame player.”

Niya Mitchell, who played for Cooper-Dyke from 2019 to 2022, admits she has thicker skin than most but was confused reading the allegations.

“I never felt like she didn’t make me want to play basketball again,” Mitchell recalled. “Everything came from a good place, like I went there, I did that. I didn’t know half the things some girls go through.”

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