SALISBURY, N.C. — The parent of a local student-athlete is calling out Livingstone College in Salisbury over concerns of “toxic bullying” in the women’s basketball program and questioning the school’s investigation after it said no evidence was found to support the allegations.
Gregory Turner told Channel 9 his daughter played basketball for Livingstone College, and her experience within the program severely impacted her mental health.
“My daughter would call and say some things were going on, but we had no idea it was this bad,” Turner told Channel 9.
Turner has as many unanswered questions as he does concerns. After three years in the program, Turner’s daughter says it left her traumatized.
“The impact, we can’t even measure that at this point,” Turner said. “My daughter is in therapy; she was in therapy there. She’s no longer there, now she’s here with us and I can say she’s not in a place right now where she can discuss this.”
In June, Turner sent a letter to Livingstone College’s president at the time, outlining examples of what he called toxic bullying. In the letter, Turner says coaches belittled his daughter in front her teammates, and Turner believes that coaches “did not provide proper food” for the team as a punishment for losing games.
The president at Livingstone College, who has since retired, told Turner that he promised the school would investigate.
Channel 9 contacted the school about the investigation, but a statement said nothing was found.
Livingstone’s statement said: “Livingstone College’s due diligence to this matter was consistent with the rules and regulations of the NCAA, the CIAA and our own policies. Our investigation found no evidence to support the allegations presented. Therefore, the case is closed.”
We also contacted four athletes who played with Turner’s daughter and asked them about their experiences. One player, Shardaye Yharbrough, spoke on camera with her parents at her side.
“I feel like we were pretty much disrespected and ignored,” Shardaye said.
“For me as a father, you have my child out of her comfort zone. You took her to a whole ‘nother state and everything that you promised you dropped the ball on,” said Shardaye’s father, Robert.
“We complain so much about our coaches, we try to take it to people that are above them, nothing gets done,” Shardaye said. “I feel like a lot of people just lost hope. There’s no point in us complaining and nothing is being done about it.”
Turner also believes there’s nothing being done about his daughter’s claims, and he doubts that Livingstone’s investigation was thorough or fair.
“I don’t know if the [Athletic Director] should have been the person to do the investigation because he was mentioned in my complaint,” Turner said.
Channel 9 contacted the NCAA, asking if it conducted its own investigation. A spokesperson said, “Outside of allegations specific to certain NCAA rules, the national office has no authority to investigate.”
We asked who determines if an NCAA rule has been violated, but the NCAA spokesperson responded saying the organization doesn’t comment on “current, pending or potential investigations.”
Meanwhile, Turner says he’s still waiting for answers and healing for his daughter.
“I tried to comfort her the best that I could,” Turner told Channel 9.
Turner’s daughter has since graduated and is back with her family.
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