The entire University of North Carolina women's basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave over "issues raised by student-athletes and others."
As reported by The Daily Tar Heel student newspaper, the university released a statement Monday explaining that Charlotte-based Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein will conduct a review to "assess the culture of the women's basketball program and the experience of our student-athletes."
Subsequently, UNC head women's coach Sylvia Hatchell released a statement of her own, which read, "I've had the privilege of coaching more than 200 young women during my 44 years in basketball. My goal has always been to help them become the very best people they can be, on the basketball court and in life. I love each and every one of the players I've coached and would do anything to encourage and support them. They are like family to me. I love them all. Of course, I will cooperate fully in this review. I look forward to a prompt conclusion of this matter and the continuation of our very successful women's basketball program."
Hatchell became UNC's head coach in 1986, and has compiled a 751–325 record with the Tar Heels. Her 1,023 career victories overall rank fourth all-time among NCAA Division I women's basketball coaches.
UNC has missed the NCAA tournament only 10 times under Hatchell, though three of those absences have come within the past four seasons. She led the Tar Heels to the national championship in 1994.
It is unclear what specifically sparked the review process, though treatment of student-athletes by their coaches has come under increased scrutiny nationwide. The university's statement opened by saying, "The University of North Carolina is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes and to ensuring that they have the best experience possible in and outside of competition." Though no timetable has been set for completion of the review, the university promises it will be "thorough and prompt."