You can leave now. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Because I don't do this for a living, I don't know if the title is appropriate. Most news organizations are reporting CBS Sports Jeff Goodman's article as a "bombshell" or "ugly details". Let's call this what it allegedly is. Again, we are having to assume that all of this is true, but these reports according to Goodman and a source are true, then this is physical and mental abuse to the players and if this is true, then Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie needs to either be terminated right now as does the entire coaching staff. I am not an expert on what exactly is physical abuse, but this sounds like physical abuse to me in describing the treatment of C Kader Tapsoba:
"He was literally crying at practice," said the source, who was with the program last season. "He couldn't even run and Gillispie had him running up and down the steps at the arena. I remember the doctor getting the X-rays back and coming to practice and telling Gillispie it was really bad. He'd just ice him up and tell him to go practice."
"He shouldn't have been practicing," he added. "But he bullied everyone, including the trainer. He'd make the trainer make kids come back. Bodies were dropping like flies. One day I walked in and the whole team was in the training room. All the players and even the managers. He'd make them practice."
And then Gillispie involved F Jordan Tolbert:
The team's star player, Jordan Tolbert, cut his hand on the rim one day last year in practice and suffered a four-inch gash across his fingers. The next day, according to one source, Gillispie had the trainer bandage his hand and then instructed Tolbert to dunk the ball every time he caught it.
Add to this and now you have the coach of star F Wannah Bail, the jewel of last year's recruiting class, who arrived for the first summer session and we were all told that the reason why Bail didn't return was because of athletics. The anonymous source said that Bail couldn't deal with Gillispie. If players have options, then I'd guess that they would leave and that's exactly what Bail may have done.
Gillispie left two Canadian players, Ty Nurse and Dejan Kravic, in scholarship limbo this past summer. According to multiple sources, he wouldn't tell either one whether he was renewing their scholarships yet when they wanted to go home to Canada after summer school ended, he made it clear that if they left, they could not return. Both players had purchased flights home for about $1,000 and wound up having to absorb the cost in fear of not being able to return to Lubbock.
I've been complaining about how Gillispie has toyed with players and scholarships and I was told that if the team gets better, then that's fine. Does everyone still feel this way? Goodman writes that fifteen players left the program early and I haven't counted to make sure this is correct, but that sounds right. Fifteen players. I honestly feel bad because I feel like I should have been more vocal about this and I wasn't. I feel like I should have admonished Gillispie for how he was treating players.
All this should take from the administrative perspective is for Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt to confirm just one of these accounts and if this is true, then Gillispie should be terminated immediately. If Hocutt can confirm that the team practiced for more than the prescribed four hours each day and the assistant coaches were present, then they should be terminated too.
This is incredibly harsh, especially for a Texas Tech legend like Bubba Jennings, but why did this take an anonymous report by the players for the public to find out about these issues? Just like any other abuse case, it is a shame that the players are the ones that have to voice their concern. I am sure that Gillispie is a dominating figure, but once a coach has put a player's well-being in harm's way, then I'm done with you. If you knowingly turn your eye, then I'm done with you. This is not about a coach being tough on his players. This is not being tough. This is abuse. Anyone involved with the program that witnessed this behavior needs to be terminated.
When Gillispie was hired, he painted himself as a sympathetic figure. A person who had lost his mother and a person who had gone to rehab to deal with his alcohol related issues. This was supposed to be a changed person, but in terms of how Gillispie allegedly treated human beings, this wasn't the case. This was Gillispie's downfall in Kentucky, not winning and his abrasive approach to everyone, and it appears to have happened again.
It does not matter to me what happens next for Texas Tech basketball. Hocutt needs to solve this Gillispie-problem right now. After that, then Hocutt can focus on a possible replacement. There are two excellent coaches sitting right under Hocutt's nose in South Plains College head coach Steve Green who won the NJCAA championship last year andfather, Howard College Mark Adams, who won the NJCAA championship in 2010. Considering that Hocutt just hired a baseball coach from Howard, he should have a direct line to their athletic director. I don't care about wins or losses right now.