Loyola probe of basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes focuses on alleged player mistreatment

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Swoopes, a four-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist, is under contract at Loyola until 2018. (WLS)

Woman's basketball legend Sheryl Swoopes, who is now the women's basketball coach at Loyola University in Chicago, is under investigation for alleged player mistreatment.

The university started an investigation after a mass exodus of team players accusing Swoopes of mistreating them.

"A lot of the ones we talked to used the word traumatized," said Nader Issa, a Loyola student journalist who spoke to some of the players.

Issa and Madeliene Kenney, both sports reporters for the Loyola Phoenix newspaper, were tipped off about the mistreatment allegations and interviewed several current and former players, who also wanted to remain anonymous.

"She said that Sheryl Swoopes has mocked players for injuries before, for how they shoot, how they run," said Issa of one of the players.

"A lot of players said they were scared to come out about the specifics of what's going on with the program because of Swoopes influence on women's basketball," Kenney said.

Swoopes, who did not return requests for comment, just finished her third season with Loyola. Her contract with Loyola runs until 2018.

The university confirms that 10 of the team's 12 returning players have transferred or put in requests to be released from their scholarships.

Five players transferred the previous season.

The controversy comes two weeks after Swoopes was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. She's a member of the class of 2016, which also includes Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.

"A lot of players on the current team and the team the past couple of years said they came to Loyola to play for her because she's a legend in the game," Issa said.

The university issued a statement that said: "Any time there are allegations of student-athlete mistreatment, it is more than concerning ... Coach Swoopes is aware of, and will fully cooperate with, the investigation. We look forward to learning how we can resolve these allegations and improve the student-athlete experience within the women's basketball program."

Swoopes is a four-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist.

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