A Notice from the Office of the President: Nov. 14, 2017

Nov. 14, 2017

Dear UNT community,

Earlier this year, I shared with you the news that three former UNT students associated with the men’s basketball program had been arrested for alleged criminal activity, including promotion of prostitution and drug possession.

Neither of the former student-athletes nor the former student manager were associated with the current basketball coaching staff, who are building a championship culture by promoting a culture of safety, respect and accountability – one in which our students are learning, growing and thriving.

After learning of the alleged criminal activities and, in an abundance of caution, Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker and I decided to engage Bond, Schoeneck & King, nationally recognized experts on the management and operation of collegiate athletics programs, to work with the UNT System Office of General Counsel to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of the culture and climate of the men’s basketball program and to learn what issues might exist.

At the time, I pledged to be as transparent as possible with the university community, which is why I am sharing the final results and conclusions of that review with you today.

The significant findings are:

  • There were no “red flags” or other indicators that individuals outside of those involved in the alleged criminal events were aware of the activity;
  • The men’s basketball program under the prior coaching staff did not create, encourage, condone, nor appear to tolerate the type of behavior that was the subject of the arrests;
  • There were no systemic cultural issues in the men’s basketball program;
  • There is no indication of any persisting criminal activity with respect to the current student-athletes;
  • There were no systemic problems with how the men’s basketball student-athletes interacted with female students or women in the university and surrounding communities in general;
  • There were instances of a lack of discipline and accountability under the previous coaching staff; and
  • A few former student-athletes of the men’s basketball program used marijuana, though the entire team was frequently warned and drug tested as means of deterrence against its use.

I believe this review was valuable and that we will be a stronger athletics program because of it. I have complete confidence in the direction of men’s basketball under Coach Grant McCasland and in the leadership of Wren and his oversight of athletics. They, and others in the department, have already made a positive impact on the athletics program and are committed to ethics, integrity and discipline.

Please continue to support our high-performing student-athletes and their coaches, who are representing UNT with pride.

Sincerely,

Neal Smatresk
UNT President