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Morgan State women's basketball coach Donald Beasley on leave after players allege verbal abuse

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Morgan State women's basketball coach Donald Beasley has been placed on administrative leave as the university reviews his handling of the program.

School officials have met with players and their parents regarding alleged verbal abuse from Beasley.

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A letter from Tanya V. Rush, associate vice president of student affairs, to the mother of a player stated that the school "has been reviewing the matter." In the same letter dated April 28, 2016, Rush wrote, "It is our expectation to bring closure to the matter shortly."

Outgoing athletic director Floyd Kerr confirmed the leave of Beasley, who recently completed his 11th year with the Bears. Kerr referred further inquiries to vice president of student affairs Kevin Banks. Banks did not return requests for comment.

There was no timetable given for the length of the leave, and it is unclear if Beasley is being paid during it. His salary is $115,000.

Beasley, 55, who was hired on March 14, 2005, has compiled a career coaching record of 141-191 and is the program's all-time winningest coach. He did not return requests for comment via phone and email.

After the season, the players discussed boycotting the 2016-17 campaign if Beasley was still the head coach, according to parents. The players met with Banks and Rush on March 15, and forward Simone Sampson said the school officials seemed to take the players' grievances seriously.

Sampson, a 6-foot-1 Cheverly resident and Riverdale Baptist graduate, said she endured years of verbal and psychological abuse from Beasley. She said the coach railed at players for something as innocuous as a missed layup during a drill in practice, and he frequently threatened to rescind players' scholarships and financial aid.

"It's like mentally abusive," said Sampson, who outlined her troubles in a letter to Banks dated March 13, 2016. "He's always calling us [expletive]. I feel like you're supposed to have a bond with your coach, but he makes it so that you never want to talk to him."

Sampson, who just finished her final season, recalled an incident during her sophomore year when the team played against Western Carolina on Dec. 29, 2013 during the Miami Holiday Classic in Coral Gables, Fla. Sampson said Beasley exchanged words with her father, Eric Sampson, during the game and continued to direct insults at the father and other parents during halftime.

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Eric Sampson said he and other parents spoke to Kerr and other school officials, who assured parents they would speak to Beasley.

Simone Sampson said Beasley retaliated by reducing players' court time. She said Beasley refused to insert Sampson into the team's season finale against Coppin State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament on March 7 despite pleas from assistant coaches and players to give her some minutes.

Eric Sampson, who played basketball at Drake University, said he urged his daughter to transfer before her senior campaign.

Duane Spears said his daughter, 6-2 sophomore forward Lexus Spears, called home during her freshman year, crying and wishing she was not playing for the Bears.

"She said, 'Dad, I don't want to play for him for another two years,'" Spears said. "She said it's just mentally exhausting. She said, 'It's getting to the point where we're being called [expletive] and [expletive] so much that I'm becoming immune to it and I just tune it out.' That's not fair to them. She is 20 years old. When you look at a basketball coach, you look at a leader, a mentor, someone you can confide in not only on the court, but also off the court for life lessons, and I don't think they can actually go to the coach and ask him for that because of the way he treats them."

Cynthia Buie said she now regrets agreeing to send her daughter to Morgan State. Buie met with Banks on March 9. Buie said Banks informed her that he would talk with Beasley and the players, but Buie said the school has not moved quickly enough to address the parents' concerns.

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"It's constant intimidation, constant threatening, cursing, name-calling," Buie said. "They're tired, and I'm tired, and the other parents are tired because nothing's being done about it."

Clinton R. Coleman, a Morgan State spokesman, said the institution does not tolerate abuse of any kind.

"If there were any such allegations, I can assure you that they would be looked into with all due diligence," he said. "Should those allegations turn out to be true, the university would take a different view of that and would move swiftly to rectify the situation."

Although she is no longer a member of the team, Simone Sampson said she is speaking out to prevent current and future teammates from suffering what she endured.

"I just don't want any of my younger teammates to have to go through anything I had to go through with him. He's always cussing, always calling us names. It's just ridiculous. I just don't want them to go through that anymore."

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