Memphis Tigers women’s basketball program focal point in athletic department review by outside firm

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – In light of complaints by some former players, the University of Memphis’ women’s basketball program is at the center of an outside investigation.

Local 24 News found at least two players on social media who aired their grievances about how they were treated by head coach Melissa McFerrin.

The Nevada firm hired for the review told Local 24 News it is looking at U of M’s athletic department as a whole, even though university leaders asked them to specifically look into complaints within the women’s basketball team.

“We were made aware that there was an issue in women’s basketball or perceived issue in women’s basketball that some players had some concerns about women’s basketball,” Cary Groth with the Pictor Group said.

 Local 24 News found tweets of McFerrin’s former players, one who tweeted in May: “after countless meetings with athletic administration, nothing has changed.”

Another former player posted on Twitter: “Melissa McFerrin ruins players’ careers.”

U of M leaders made the outside firm aware of player complaints when a group from that firm did interviews on campus last month.

“Typically, a university will give us a heads up, and in fact, that’s what Memphis has done,” Groth said.

The U of M issued a statement saying in part, “the University takes complaints of abuse and harassment seriously and investigates when matters are brought to its attention. In light of recent developments and the seriousness of some of the allegations made, the University initiated an independent, external review.”

Local 24 News left a message with McFerrin’s representative but didn’t hear back.

Friday afternoon, McFerrin’s tweets centered on recruiting and finding what she described as “committed, ferocious warriors.”

Those leading the outside review at the University of Memphis expect to release recommendations in August. We are told the firm does not make recommendations on whether a coach should be retained or removed.

In April, Memphis women’s basketball coach Melissa McFerrin signed a two-year extension through the 2020-2021 season.

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