Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Chatman case may mean trouble for college basketball

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

Now that the women's college basketball season has ended, many coaches are on the road recruiting through mid-May. And, some said in recent interviews, they could face fallout from last month's resignation of Pokey Chatman from Louisiana State, following charges of what the university on Wednesday described for the first time as inappropriate sexual relationships between her and former players.

"This is everyone's worst nightmare," Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, said during widespread discussion of the Chatman case during the NCAA tournament.

At its heart, LSU officials said, the Chatman case is about abuse of trust or power. Yet some coaches, administrators and academics say they fear that the accusations against Chatman will inflame homophobia; reinforce stereotypes of lesbians as sexual predators; lead to more so-called negative recruiting, or attempts to steer players away from coaches suspected of being gay; increase skepticism toward the hiring of single women as head coaches; and scare the parents of potential recruits.

On Wednesday, in a telephone interview, Raymond Lamonica, LSU's general counsel, said that charges levied by a former assistant coach against Chatman were sexual in nature.

Chatman, who quit on March 7, has declined to comment, but is seeking US$800,000 from LSU, an amount covering the final two years of her contract.

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