Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I write to share the results of the independent investigation conducted by the firm of Pugh, Jones & Johnson into recent allegations of racism and abusive behavior within our women’s basketball program.

This investigation has concluded that these allegations are not supported by the information available. The review was extensive, far-reaching and careful – including examination of more than 18,000 documents, 33 interviews, the statements of eight former players, and review of game and practice video footage. A version of the final report (redacted only to protect private information of students and those not employed by the university) has been posted here.

The report does recommend actions for clarifying expectations regarding coaches' conduct, better defining the coach-parent relationship and enhancing resources for student-athletes to report concerns or complaints about their experience at Illinois. We will begin implementing these recommendations immediately.

These actions include implementing a formal coaches' code of conduct, improving processes for student-athletes to report concerns and complaints, and a policy establishing clearer lines for appropriate interaction between coaches and parents or others who act on behalf of student-athletes.

Going forward, we will ensure that our coaches and staff members have a clearer understanding of our core values and expectations, and that our student-athletes never ever feel they have nowhere to go when they have concerns.

Our first priority – in and out of the athletic department – is the health and well-being of our students. We can never have too many ways to help connect them with support.

This has been a challenging time for all of our student athletes, the staff of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and for all of us at Illinois. Allegations of this kind are troubling because they do not match our values and they do not align with the vision of this university we all share.

And that is why, when they surfaced, Athletic Director Mike Thomas immediately notified me and asked that the campus conduct this independent investigation.

Student-athletes are a part of our Illinois family and we want to ensure that their experience is fulfilling, and that they are able to work toward an Illinois degree, preparing them for lives of leadership and impact.

A separate evaluation of concerns related to the football program and sports medicine aspects of the women’s basketball program is ongoing and I will be sharing that report with you when I have it.


Phyllis M. Wise

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Chancellor

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty, Graduate Students & Undergraduate Students
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