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Hatchell under investigation for racist remarks, Washington Post reports

Sylvia Hatchell
Coach Sylvia Hatchell shouts instructions to the UNC women's basketbal team during their home game vs. UNCG in Carmichael Arena on Friday, Dec. 14 2018.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m. The Washington Post has reported that North Carolina women's basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell is under investigation over allegations of racist remarks and forcing players to play through severe injuries. 

According to the Washington Post, Hatchell remarked that her players would get "hanged from trees with nooses" in their next game if their performance did not improve and attempted to have her players participate in a "war chant" to "honor" the Native American ancestry of an assistant coach. 

The Washington Post received the information through interviews with seven people, including six parents of players.

Parents raised concerns at a meeting with University administrators last Thursday evening. At the meeting, according to those in attendance, parents discussed situations in which three players reported feeling pressured by Hatchell to play through injuries. 

According to the Post, one player later learned she needed corrective shoulder surgery and another found out she'd had a torn knee tendon. Hatchell was also accused of doubting that a player had suffered a concussion. Parents placed the blame on Hatchell and a team doctor for those instances, according to those who attended the meeting. 

Hatchell declined an interview with The Washington Post. In a phone interview with the Post on Thursday, her attorney Wade Smith said, "She said, 'They're going to take a rope and string us up, and hang us out to dry.'" 

Smith also said that Hatchell is not racist and did not recall the incidents regarding injured players.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m. North Carolina women's basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell released a statement regarding the University review of the program.

"I’ve had the privilege of coaching more than 200 young women during my 44 years in basketball," Hatchell said in the statement. "My goal has always been to help them become the very best people they can be, on the basketball court and in life. I love each and every one of the players I’ve coached and would do anything to encourage and support them. They are like family to me. I love them all. Of course, I will cooperate fully in this review. I look forward to a prompt conclusion of this matter and the continuation of our very successful women’s basketball program."

Coaches of the North Carolina women's basketball team will be placed on paid administrative leave as the program is reviewed due to "issues raised by student-athletes and others," the UNC athletics department announced on Monday.

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, a Charlotte-based firm, will conduct the review, and will "assess the culture of the women’s basketball program and the experience of our student-athletes," according to a statement. No timetable was announced, and no further information was provided.

The Tar Heels are coming off an 18-15 campaign, and made the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19 for the first time in four years. As a No. 9 seed, North Carolina fell to No. 8 seed Cal in the first round.

Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell, who has a 751-325 career record in 33 seasons at UNC, will be among those placed on paid leave.

Carolina Athletics announced that it will have no further comment until the review is complete.


@DTHSports |

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