ETSU fires women’s basketball coach over ‘unconscionable behavior’ towards players

Published 10:25 am Monday, August 1, 2022

JOHNSON CITY – Earlier today, East Tennessee State University notified Women’s Basketball Head Coach Simon Harris of the university’s intent to terminate Harris’s employment effective at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2022. Harris will be suspended with pay effective immediately.

During the spring 2022 academic semester, former members of the women’s basketball team filed a Title IX complaint alleging discrimination and unfair treatment. The university’s office of compliance immediately launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter. As a result of this inquiry, investigators uncovered numerous causes for concern.

“This morning, a final compliance report is being provided to former members of our women’s basketball team in response to a Title IX complaint,” ETSU President Brian Noland said. “The findings outlined in the report have caused me serious concern, as it paints a picture of unconscionable behavior by Coach Harris that is in direct contradiction to the institution’s mission and values. The report details multiple ethical and policy violations and raises questions regarding potential failures to comply with NCAA rules. Subsequently, I have directed Interim Athletic Director, Dr. Richard Sander, to begin an investigation into whether or not NCAA violations have occurred. In the spirit of self-accountability promoted by the NCAA, we will report any potential findings immediately.”

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Pursuant to the university’s Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct, Harris has the right to appeal the findings presented in the compliance report and to pursue resolution through the university’s employee grievance and complaint procedures. For the duration of his suspension, Harris has been directed not to interact with current or prospective student-athletes or other members of the athletics department.

An acting Women’s Basketball Head Coach will be named in the coming days.