First things first, go and read Jim Polzin’s article and then come back here so we can discuss. For those who couldn’t be bothered to read the bombshell report that dropped on Monday morning, here is the gist.
- The seven seniors on the Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team last year had a private meeting with head coach Greg Gard and his three assistant coaches, Alando Tucker, Joe Krabbenhoft and Dean Oliver.
- A 37-minute recording was sent to Polzin from an anonymous email account. The supposed recording is up on YouTube and embedded right here.
- Multiple players suggested that they wouldn’t have any sort of relationship with Gard, or the program, once they left Madison.
- It is important to once again note, this was secretly recorded and then shared to Polzin anonymously.
The quotes in Polzin’s piece paint a pretty damning picture of the culture that these seniors (Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers, D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford, Micah Potter, Trevor Anderson and Walt McGrory) felt Gard was fostering in the Wisconsin locker room. Ford went so far as to say he wouldn’t send his son to UW due to what he had experienced.
Now, it is important to remember that there are two sides to every story and we don’t even have a full recording of this meeting. Players saying things in meetings like this happen at every level of sports and are often necessary for teams to thrive. Former Badger Sam Dekker had some thoughts on the matter.
Who the hell gave these guys the idea that they’re bigger than the program?— Sam Dekker (@dekker) June 22, 2021
Never been angrier reading an article.
And recording a meeting is the softest thing I’ve ever seen. Grow up.
Gard isn’t the one on a 8 min scoring drought every game. Get outta here. https://t.co/3L1HhgqK2Y
Another thing to point out is: secretly recording your teammates (or your players, if one of the coaches is the leak) is, to put it bluntly, uncool. Davison notes that the locker room is supposed to be a “sanctuary” and for someone to release this recording they must have some sort of agenda or vendetta against Gard.
We will keep this post updated with any more news that we hear.
Update, Tuesday, 7/22/21, 1:49 p.m. CT
Greg Gard has released a statement. He is “incredibly disappointed to find out that a private meeting between seniors from our 2020-21 team and our coaching staff was secretly recorded, edited and made public. It shows a complete lack of care for our program culture and for the confidentiality that is owed to our student-athletes who wanted an opportunity to share their thoughts behind closed doors.”
Statement from head coach Greg Gard pic.twitter.com/nz3QAPeqtU— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) June 22, 2021
Athletic director Barry Alvarez also released a statement:
Statement from Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez pic.twitter.com/3i4xDOlTB7— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) June 22, 2021
This echoes many of Gard’s points and ends with “Greg, his staff and his team have my full support as they look toward the 2021-22 season.” Alvarez will no longer be the athletic director for the upcoming school year as he will be retired, but a guy like him doesn’t just disappear into the woods. He’ll be around for sure.