The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU Backs Accused Women’s Basketball Coach Travis Mays

Former SMU women’s basketball players spoke out against head coach Travis Mays.

Last week, a Dallas Morning News article detailed the stories of eight former SMU women’s basketball players and their accusations against head coach Travis Mays, who they claim fostered a debilitating and traumatic culture amongst players and coaching staff during the 2017-18 season, Mays’s second as head coach at SMU.

The story came after a blog post published in late January by former player Klara Bradshaw highlighted disturbing details of the “verbal teardowns” that encapsulated her experience playing under Mays.

Most notably, she recounted the time that Mays told the team that they might as well commit suicide if they weren’t going to work hard enough.

Bradshaw, who now plays professionally in Germany, is still dealing with the effects of the culture she played in her senior year.

“It literally took me a plane ticket and playing basketball overseas and realizing how a coach is supposed to treat their players… that’s really when I realized how toxic that situation was,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw’s blog post and the Dallas Morning News article have received considerable support on Twitter from other athletes who played under Mays. The story has also been picked up by national news outlets including TMZ, Bleacher Report, and ESPN.

The public support of the players led SMU athletic director Rick Hart to make a statement Thursday, in which he voiced support for Mays.

“Coach Mays has publicly acknowledged that he made mistakes as a first-time head coach,” Hart said. “He has accepted ownership of his missteps, apologized and grown through his experience.”

Hart also noted that he addressed the issues with Mays “with the appropriate individuals at the time.”

Bradshaw said that she and several of her teammates met with Hart after the season ended.

“I thought that meeting was going to be the start of change, but it did absolutely nothing,” Bradshaw said. “In the next few days, weeks, months, nothing changed. I never heard back from him.”

McKenzie Adams, the lead scorer for the team during the 2017-18 season, reacted to Hart’s statement on Twitter, saying, “So many things wrong with this statement.”

Another former player, Alicia Froling, also took to Twitter to react to the statement saying, “It’s not just the suicide comment, what about everything else? What about the psychological [and] mental abuse he put us through?”

Bradshaw said she was not surprised that Hart stood behind Mays.

“At the end of the day, I’m not surprised by the response,” Bradshaw said. “It’s hard to make a decision on a coach’s contract by a story that is surrounding events from 2 years ago, especially when the culture still exists and the current athletes are afraid to speak.”

Mays and the women’s basketball team will take on East Carolina on Feb. 11 in Moody Coliseum.

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