MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Northern Michigan has given its women’s basketball coach a four-game suspension for saying that Wayne State “cheated” when it signed transfer student Shareta Brown, athletic director Forrest Karr announced Wednesday.
Northern coach Troy Mattson spoke after Brown made 27 points and 19 rebounds for the Warriors in their 69-57 win Monday over his Wildcats.
In a videotaped news conference, Mattson said that opponents must hold Brown to 20 points to win. He called the 6-foot-1 center “the best player in the country” but said her performance and motivation are inconsistent.
“When she competes hard, she’s better than everybody else out there,” he said. “Her problem is she doesn’t play hard all the time.”
Asked why Brown wasn’t picked as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s preseason player of the year, Mattson said it was because of how she ended up at Wayne State after leaving Detroit Mercy in spring 2013.
“Every coach in our league knows that they cheated to get her there, and we will not vote for her,” Mattson said Monday.
Mattson reversed himself Wednesday, apologizing to Wayne State, “their coaching staff, their players, and Shareta Brown for the unwarranted comments I made.” He also said that his remarks about the league “were unjustified and should not have been said.”
Northern Michigan’s athletic director joined in the apology to Wayne State.
“Their key administrators have strong backgrounds in compliance,” Karr said. He said Wayne State athletic director Rob Fournier “is a consistent advocate for the importance of going above and beyond just following the rules.” Mattson’s suspension begins with a game Thursday at Lewis and runs through a Jan. 8 home game against Ashland, Karr said.
Fournier said in a statement that Wayne State officials “trust Northern Michigan will handle this issue appropriately based on the seriousness of the reference.”
“The troubling statement that coaches conspired against the selection of a certain student-athlete warrants more review and investigation,” he said.
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