A former Detroit Mercy basketball player has filed suit against the university, athletic director Robert Vowels and ex-head coach Bacari Alexander, over a sexually-charged incident that occurred during a practice in 2017.

According to Tariiq Jones’ complaint, Jones was in a team huddle during practice when he made a “simple statement” to which then-coach Bacari Alexander responded by grabbing Jones’ crotch and telling him to “suck my (expletive).” 

Alexander, who was in his second season as coach of the team, was inexplicably fired two weeks after the incident, and Detroit Mercy gave no reason for his firing. 

Jones is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, alleging the university mishandled his complaint and violated federal Title IX legislation and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Jones alleges that he was embarrassed and shamed by the incident and that his grades suffered as a result. He also says he was ridiculed by his teammates and eventually had to seek counseling as a result.

According to The Detroit News, Jones said he filed a report with campus police, which dismissed the complaint. In the spring of 2018, he would file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The university received notice of the complaint March 27. A day earlier, it fired Alexander without citing any incident with a player or players as reason for the dismissal.

Jones was found academically ineligible in May of 2018. He considered transfer options but didn’t find any and hasn’t played since. 

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.