GREEN BAY - Brian Wardle has walked the sidelines of the Green Bay Phoenix basketball court for three years.
Now, according to the Associated Press, one player, red-shirt freshman Ryan Bross, says the coach has crossed the line. Bross' parents sent a letter to the Green Bay chancellor claiming Wardle verbally abused their son.
Green Bay launched an investigation Wednesday after learning of accusations of mistreatment leveled against Wardle
Director of university communications Chris Sampson clarified the nature of the allegations.
"There were allegations of verbal abuse, emotional abuse, the player wasn't being treated fairly, properly, you know no allegations of a physical nature but still very serious," Sampson said.
In a statement Thursday night, Wardle responded saying, "I will be supportive of this process and I'm confident in the findings. I will have no further comment until it is concluded."
FOX 11 attempted to contact Bross' parents Friday for comment but was unable to reach them.
Bross is the fourth player to leave the Phoenix men's basketball program in the past three months and 11th during Wardle's three years leading the program.
"I think any time you have a student leave the program the coaches and the program are going to want to know why," Sampson said. "Each case is specific to the individual. Is there a pattern or an area of concern here? I think the investigator or investigation is going to tell us whether that's true or not."
Eleven players leaving in three seasons is not out of line with overall transfer rates for Division 1 men's basketball. According to the NCAA, during the 2010-2011 school year 40 percent of student athletes competing in Division 1 basketball did not complete their sophomore season at the initial institution they attended.
Thursday night Green Bay junior guard Keifer Sykes seemed to voice support for Wardle on Twitter saying, "Grown men still run behind their parents to solve their problems!"
Sykes didn't specify what he was tweeting about but given the timing he seems to be in support of Wardle.
Chancellor Tom Harden and director of athletics Ken Bothof have declined to address the current allegations.
"There are people who would like the chancellor or the athletics director to speak out on it and share some context or their impressions of the program but that's really not proper if you have an outside investigator coming in," Sampson said. "So you're probably not going to hear much from them until we have the thing resolved in a factual manner by an outside investigator."
FOX 11 filed a Wisconsin open records request Friday for the correspondence between Bross' parents and the university, but the request had been denied.
Meanwhile the coach, the team and fans wait for the results of the investigation. FOX 11 was told there is no timeline, only that he university wants to resolve the matter quickly while still gathering all the facts.
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