Ball State Settles with Coach over Racially-Based Hostilities

Feb 1, 2008

Ball State University has reached a settlement with former men’s basketball coach Ronny Thompson after an independent investigator concluded that some members of the school’s athletic department acted with racially hostile or insensitive behavior toward Thompson.
That finding was issued by former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby.
Thompson, who recorded a 9-22 record in his only year on the bench, resigned last July, citing the abuse that was directed toward him because of his race. Among the accusation was that he found sheets of paper under his office door and the doors of his assistant coaches that included the words “n–ger,” “liar” and “cheater.” Thompson was also informed by then-Ball State compliance director Kyle Brennan that he heard an assistant athletic director make derogatory comments about black people in general, and use the n-word.
In his resignation letter to Ball State President Jo Ann Gora, he wrote that his “decision to leave is not one of my own volition, but (is) due to the intolerable circumstances created by the university. I consider my leaving to be termination without cause. … The racially hostile work environment combined with harassment by several members of the administration, including my supervisors, has made a continuing working relationship untenable.”
In the wake of Selby’s report, the university issued a formal apology to Thompson for the “unprofessional and unauthorized behavior of its employees that led to his resignation, for the unfortunate distress that resulted from these actions, and for the unwarranted negative effect on his reputation.” The school also said that corrective and disciplinary action had been taken against the employees involved.
Terms of the financial settlement were not disclosed.


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