Oakland U Witholds Documents On Women's Basketball Program Scandal

August 08, 2013, 6:59 AM

Remember Beckie Francis? The former Oakland University women's basketball coach who resigned suddenly just before reports surfaced that she's a first-rate cuckoo bird who (allegedly) had an abnormal obsession with her players' sex lives, was (allegedly) emotionally abusive, and (allegedly) used her position of power to coerce players into attending her church? Also, one time she supposedly left a baby in a hotel hallway on purpose.

Well, Oakland is denying public access to documents that could shed light on Francis' behavior was and how aware school officials may have been about it.

Macomb Daily: Oakland University has denied a Freedom of Information Act request seeking surveys conducted following each season and interviews with athletic department personnel.

The school’s denial read: “Your request … is denied as it seeks information, which, if released, would prevent Oakland University from complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

One factor complicating matters with Francis' tenure at OU, according to initial reports, was that her husband was then-university president Gary Russi. Potential whistle blowers said they were afraid to come forward because of that fact. The taxpayer-funded OU doesn't want reading Russi's emails about the basketball program either.

Macomb Daily: The school also denied a request seeking internal communications between former President Gary Russi and the Board of Trustees regarding the women’s basketball program, as well as communication between Francis and director of athletics Tracy Huth.

It’s been nearly two months since Oakland University fired its longest-tenured women’s basketball coach. The university has addressed the firing in two statements only, the first announcing Francis’ termination and a second weeks later noting she was fired with cause after allegations of misconduct.

Well, you can understand that. After seeing the Penn State administration emails covering up the Jerry Sandusky scandal, what university would want to risk airing their potentially dirty laundry about high-level officials covering up gross misconduct within their athletic department. 

It's like Gen. Buck Turdiston said in Dr. Strangelove: "I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up."

Read more:  Macomb Daily

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