We are about a week removed from redshirt sophomore Kobe King’s announcement that he was leaving the Wisconsin basketball program.
Since then, further information has been brought to the forefront in regard to his decision to leave. King had cited that he had doubts about playing for head coach Greg Gard dating back to his freshman season. King also told the Wisconsin State Journal’s Jim Polzin that he did not like the way that the basketball team was spoken to.
King also cited that he had multiple meetings with Gard throughout the season and things were not improving.
Gard spoke following King’s departure.
A message from head coach Greg Gard pic.twitter.com/iEKHgL1gJ3— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 30, 2020
However, further information was reported Wednesday evening by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, stating allegations that a racial epithet was used in the presence of King by a UW staffer.
Senior associate athletic director Justin Doherty made the following comments to the Journal Sentinel, at halftime of Wisconsin’s 70-52 loss to Minnesota.
“UW athletics administration was made aware of an allegation Sunday afternoon and has already taken measures to address it,” Doherty said, reading the statement. “Anytime we are made aware of an allegation of any kind, it is handled with the utmost seriousness.
”There is absolutely no place in UW athletics for the type of behavior being alleged.”
No specifics were provided, so it is unclear what was said and by whom, but it could certainly further provide an explanation for King’s exit if proven true.
Just to clarify: #Badgers officials confirmed the allegation had been made. They are looking into the matter. Nothing close to getting a definitive answer.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) February 6, 2020
This allegation may influence King’s eligibility for this coming season once he decides on a school to continue his collegiate career.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA following his transfer from Georgia due to his claims that someone associated with the Bulldogs baseball program made racially derogatory comments towards him.
At this time, there have been rumors that King could potentially transfer to either Virginia or Marquette.
Have been told Kobe King is back in La Crosse right now. Still early, but two potential transfer spots I’ve heard from a few people are Virginia and Marquette.— Jon McNamara (@McNamaraRivals) January 31, 2020
On Thursday morning, after we had finished editing this story, Potrykus tweeted this out.
Still on way home -- at a McDonald's in the middle of nowhere. #Badgers officials confirmed strength coach Erik Helland, who did not travel with hoops team to Minnesota, is on administrative leave.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) February 6, 2020
He mentioned he had filed a story as well and we will update this post as more news comes out. Here is a link to the story that was posted at the same time as ours.
UPDATE Thursday 3:23 p.m. CT: Here is the statement from UW.
Erik Helland, director of strength and conditioning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, resigned his position Thursday afternoon. Helland had been the strength and conditioning coach for the Wisconsin men’s basketball program since 2013.
UW Athletics administration was informed last weekend that Helland, while recounting a story from earlier in his NBA career, had used a racial epithet in the presence of multiple Wisconsin men’s basketball student-athletes. UW Athletics confirmed that assertion on Sunday. UW Athletics works to promote a safe and welcoming environment for its student-athletes and staff and the aforementioned language used does not align with the values of the athletic department, men’s basketball program or the university.
Helland was placed on administrative leave on Monday and did not travel with the Badger men’s basketball team to Minnesota for the team’s game Wednesday.
Multiple public reports have indicated that UW Athletics has been investigating the alleged use of racially insensitive language directed at one student-athlete. That allegation is inaccurate. UW Athletics has no evidence — nor has it been alleged to the athletic department — that Helland directed racially insensitive language toward any member of the men’s basketball team.