SMU Basketball Player Sues After Losing Scholarship

Sep 26, 2008

Former SMU women’s basketball player Jennifer Colli is suing SMU and her former coach in federal court, accusing the defendants of breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, promissory estoppel, and fraud associated with the loss of her scholarship.
Colli, who is seeking a minimum of $2 million in damages and $450,000 in attorney’s fees, wrote in her complaint that she received notice in August 2006 that her scholarship was not being renewed because of “serious misconduct.” She claims, however, that that pattern of misconduct was never documented and that she was never given a chance to defend herself in front of a “Judicial Committee.”
Colli also alleged that, on at least one occasion, her coaches criticized players during a game, questioning whether the reason they weren’t performing well was because they didn’t “get any” the night before. In addition, she claimed that one month after having her scholarship renewed, she complained about the coach’s comments during the prior season. Then, two days before the next school year was to began, Colli said she was notified that she did not have a scholarship.
Colli claimed in her suit that the defendant ruined any chances she would have playing professional basketball and winning endorsements.
SMU issued the following statement in response to the suit:
“SMU takes seriously any concerns expressed by students regarding their educational environment. In the case in question, two university offices investigated the student’s allegations—the Office of the Director of Athletics and the SMU Office of Institutional Access and Equity. The results of the investigations did not support the student’s claims. SMU stands by its findings and will address these issues in court.”


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