Northern Kentucky Parts Ways With Women's Basketball Coach Following Investigation

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Northern Kentucky University has parted ways with women's basketball coach Camryn Volz after placing her on administrative leave March 14 pending an investigation into anonymous allegations that she used racist and homophobic language and created an environment of intimidation detrimental to the mental health of her players. 

The university announced Friday that Volz and NKU have "amicable agreed" to part ways, adding that Volz "did not violate any university employment policies" but also said a change in leadership of the women’s basketball program was appropriate.

The Enquirer obtained a letter informing Volz of her leave, as well as the human resources memorandum from the investigation. 

The memo from NKU's chief human resources officer, Lori Southwood, said the university had received an anonymous report March 5 alleging Volz used "racial remarks," "homophobia" and "constant degradation of mental health" The report indicated that all NKU players wished to speak out about the coach's behavior. 

A follow-up anonymous report was submitted March 12, accusing Volz of creating "an environment where fear and manipulation are used to get us to stay here and stay compliant."

The investigation involved NKU vice president and director of athletics Christina Roybal, senior associate athletic director Sarah Pruess and two members of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion meeting with six players from the 2023-2024 team to discuss the allegations. 

The Enquirer reported that the memo said during this meeting, the six players said that Volz had made racist and homophobic remarks during team activities, ignored or belittled players' mental health and created an environment of fear and intimidation within the team. They also alleged inappropriate behavior by Volz related to alcohol consumption in connection with team activities.

Volz responded to the accusations. She denied making racist or homophobic statements,  ignoring or mistreating players based on mental health issues, and defended her coaching style and team culture.

"Based on my investigation, I have determined that Volz's conduct in this matter does not violate those policies," said Southwood in the report. "When viewed in the context of Volz's other efforts to connect with her players, comments regarding hairstyles and similar matters do not indicate intentional race­ based harassment or discrimination or rise to the level of a policy violation.

"Comments and actions that allegedly showed discrimination based on sexual orientation either were misconstrued or not substantiated as a policy violation."

Volz led the Norse women's team for eight years since taking the job in 2016, accumulating a 95-106 overall record and a 64-58 Horizon League record. The Norse reached the Horizon League semifinals three times during her tenure − in 2023, 2022 and 2020.

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