Weird revelations after Oakland University fires Women's Basketball Coach

This one has been getting some attention online.

Beckie Francis[pictured above -thanks USA Today] was the University of Oakland Women’s Basketball coach. “Was” being the operative word. Last July she was fired – “for cause” but the precise cause had never been identified. Last week, Francis filed suit against the University. The allegations aren’t spelled out, but it appears to likely be a wrongful termination or breach of contract case. At the heart of the case is a mysterious internal report, generated by the University after an investigation into the basketball program. Francis claims she is entitled to see the entirety of the report so she can determine if the “for cause” termination was appropriate. The University however, won’t turn over the entire report but does claim Francis has been provided with “sufficient documentation.”

And there is more..last summer, several players gave interviews that were critical of Francis. One of the threads running through their complaints was that their opinions didn’t matter – because Francis had powerful allies. Specifically, those allies included Gary Russi, who happened to be married to Francis. And, also the University President. Russi retired on June 12. Francis was fired the very same day. Now there’s a coincidence.

Some of the criticisms leveled at Francis involved some allegedly unusual coaching practices, including:

– an obsession with player weights, which included taking pictures of the players in sports bras and Spandex to chart body changes;

– pushing religion on the players by making them attend church services and watch Christian-based videos on bus trips;

– emotional abuse and head games far beyond motivational methods normally used by coaches. This one is a little fuzzy for me. Who is the benchmark here – Woody Hayes? If so, the bar isn’t particularly high.

Francis just filed her lawsuit last week and already these details have leaked to the press. More undoubtedly to come. No word on whether subpar seasons the last couple of years were a factor.