Thursday, March 28, 2013

Former college athletic director admits affair with assistant basketball coach


College athletics deparments are often known as being close knit communities. But the athletic department at Detroit Mercy may be a little too close.

According to the USA TODAY, former athletic director Keri Gather admitted to having an extramarital affair with an assistant coach on the men’s basketball team, and then partnered with school officials to file a legal response on March 13 requesting that a lawsuit be dropped from another assistant coach who claims he was fired for being the whistleblower.

Gaither admitted that she and assistant coach Derek Thomas engaged in the affair dating as far back as the 2009-10 season. Both Gaither and Thomas were forced to resign on Oct. 31 last year.

Meanwhile, another assistant coach, Carlos Briggs, alleges he was fired on Nov. 1 because he had knowledge of the extramarital affair. Briggs filed a suit on Jan. 29 that contends he was defamed and fired for filing a whistleblower report in August. The school contends he was fired for "legitimate" and "nondiscriminatory reason", however, they would not elaborate on the details of his termination.

Briggs is suing Detroit Mercy, Gaither and Mort Meisner, a media consultant for the school. He is seeking damages greater than $25,000, the minimum for a suit in the circuit court.

The suit states that several players had knowledge of the relationship between Gaither and Thomas. Four players even told the Detroit Free Press that they listened in on the couple, which led them to confirm their relationship was inappropriate.
During trips, according to the suit: "On occasion, players would observe Thomas slip into Gaither's hotel room after the team's curfew, causing the players to leave their rooms to go stand outside the door to Gaither's room, giggling while they listened to the sounds of Gaither and Thomas apparently having sex."

The suit alleged that complaints from "outraged" parents followed, and Gaither "instituted an unwritten policy of openly showing favoritism" to players "keeping quiet about her sexual relationship. ... Gaither's policy of favoritism and unfair punishment causeddissension within the basketball program."
School officials have declined repeated attempts to comment.

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