CINCINNATI (FOX19) - No NCAA violations were committed by University of Cincinnati men’s basketball head coach John Brannen or his staff, according to a source close to the program.
The school on March 26 announced the men’s basketball program was under review following allegations related to the coaching staff. A statement from UC did not outline what the allegations were or when they might have happened.
On Friday, the source told FOX19 NOW that UC administrators have yet to interview or speak with Brannen or his staff since the American Athletic Conference title game on March 14.
Interviews with players began before the conference tournament.
Brannen and his staff have been asking for clarification on the allegations and are hoping to sit down with school administrators to discuss them, the source says.
In Brannen’s second year, the Bearcats went 12-11, making it all the way to the American Athletic Conference tournament championship game.
After the Bearcats failed to make the NCAA Tournament, six players announced they were leaving the team and entering the transfer portal.
As the news of players’ departures was coming out, a former player talked anonymously to FOX19 NOW to defend Brannen as a coach.
“Coach Brannen is going to push you,” the player said. “He’s going to put you in uncomfortable situations in practice in terms of basketball, not socially. That’s how you get better. He’s going to demand it out of you.
“It’s not easy. I tell people that all the time. Playing for Coach Brannen is not easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. He pushed me to limits that I didn’t know I had. That made me the player I was. I guess I embraced that more than others do.
“Just like every offensive play style isn’t for certain people, coaching styles aren’t always for certain people.”
A parent of a UC player also spoke to FOX19 NOW about the allegations.
“He doesn’t let the parents be involved in the program at all. With this COVID stuff, it went crazy. Other parents I’ve talked to from this year and years before, that turned them off big time. That was a problem he had at NKU, too.
“These kids didn’t leave for nothing. We’re looking at it like, ‘these are new age kids and they don’t want to wait their turn.’ That’s not how it is. It’s 50-50. People perceive it that John is doing nothing wrong. That’s not reality. These kids came here for a reason. They also left for a reason.”
Brannen was named the head coach at UC in 2019 after he took Northern Kentucky University to the NCAA tournament in two of his final three seasons with the Norse.
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