Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and recently retired HBCU women’s basketball coach, is currently under Title IX investigation on allegations by former players that she subjected them to demoralizing and abusive behavior.
Some of the accusations were detailed in a report by The Athletic, which received accounts from former players, parents, and others familiar with incidents that allegedly occurred while Cooper-Dyke was head coach at Prairie View and Texas Southern.
The Athletic reported that the totality of the actions described led to a no-contact order placed on Cooper-Dyke in January.
Among the allegations against Cooper-Dyke during her stint at Texas Southern included telling a player with a mental health diagnosis that “she just needs some dick, that’s all.” The player, who was battling depression, also was reportedly called “a sorry-ass virgin” by Cooper-Dyke.
Cooper, who retired from Texas Southern following the end of the 2021-22 season, was accused of shaming a player for her weight, mimicking a sexual act on a male assistant coach, and suggested a player who ran slow during a drill was attributed to her “getting dicked down.”
Players contacted by The Athletic also described an environment where they were subject to lewd language that they felt was degrading and inappropriate for the setting.
Similar accounts were detailed by players at UNC-Wilmington and USC.
Cooper-Dyke, in a statement to the website, denied the allegations against her.
“Throughout my years as a coach, I’ve had countless interactions with players in my role as their coach, mentor and friend,” she said. “I had positive relationships with the majority of players and staff, and my only intention was to maximize players’ potential and help them be their best. While these allegations are untrue, everyone deserves to work, play and learn in a respectful environment, and I deeply apologize for and regret any words used during the course of a spirited game or practice that offended or hurt someone.”
Also read: Texas Southern’s Cynthia Cooper-Dyke announces her retirement
Texas Southern responded to the situation in a statement saying that the school takes any 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.”
Per university policy, the school can dismiss a Title IX complaint if “the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University.’’
During her first stint at Texas Southern in 2012, an unidentified player recounted that some members of the team decided to leave because of the verbal abuse and dehumanization they sustained under Cooper-Dyke.
“We say to this day, like, we feel like we went through hell,” a Texas Southern player from the 2012-13 team told The Athletic. “We talked to each other through everything. … At that point, it was just like, forget this basketball stuff, let’s protect each other’s sanity.”