WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN is digging deeper into Wichita State University’s independent investigation into the men’s basketball program. There is new insight into how some student-athletes feel about how coaches are treating them. The insight comes in the form of the student-athlete exit interviews.
The NCAA requires exit interviews from all colleges and universities, and it is part of an athletic director’s job description. Under the NCAA bylaws, the athletic department “shall conduct exit interviews in each sport with a sample of student-athletes (as determined by the institution) whose eligibility has expired.” KSN confirmed with WSU that those interviews include departing seniors and transfer students.
KSN obtained three academic years of student-athlete exit interviews WSU conducted during the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 school years. The university released information on 81 student-athletes. The questions range from how they would rate the university’s facilities to evaluating his or her head coach. The answers range from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” as well as “very good” to “very poor.”
Here’s what we found in the data: The women’s track team made up the majority of the entries in these student-athlete exit interviews at 26%. Women’s tennis and men’s basketball tied for last place, with WSU interviewing only one athlete in the respective sports.
As the allegations into the men’s basketball program and head coach Gregg Marshall surfaced in October, KSN wanted to see the exit-interviews into the years in question. So we filed an open records request with the university that gave us the three years of data.
We requested the academic years 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, because one of the accusations about Marshall allegedly happened during that time span. WSU denied our request citing a Kansas state law that pertains to privacy concerns, specifically personally identifiable information.
Keep in mind, in the years of data WSU did provide to KSN, there are no student names, and it does not list the student’s year at the university. However, it does show the sport, the student’s gender identity and race. However, the student can choose not to answer that final question.
The one basketball exit interview KSN obtained came during the 2017-2018 school year. The university doesn’t name the person, but gives descriptions like when the person enrolled and the student’s ethnicity.
There are 48 questions, and more than half relate to coaching. Here are some of the positives. The student-athlete gave mostly positive or good remarks on the facilities, sports medicine and the program having an impact on developing his character after he left school. He rated the assistant coach/coaches overwhelmingly as “very good.”
But when it came to head coach Gregg Marshall, the review wasn’t so glowing. In a 19-part question to evaluate Marshall, the student-athlete gave 9 poor or very poor responses, 5 satisfactory, 4 good, and one very good. He rated Marshall as “very poor” when it came to being a “positive example of ethical behavior.” He gave him the highest rating when it came to Marshall’s “knowledge of the game.”
Part 1 of Question 23 says, “Were you subject to coaching techniques that involved inappropriate physical contact?” The student answered, “no.” Part 2 asked, “Were you subject to coaching techniques that involved inappropriate verbal communication?” The student-athlete answered, “Yes.” However, he stated he did not report this alleged abuse to the athletic director. He said he respected his coaches and felt they respected him.
The person said he would still attend WSU if the university recruited him, but said “no” when it asked if he would encourage other student-athletes to attend WSU.
He wrote in closing “I love WSU but a few changes that are currently happening and hopefully will happen soon. Then yes I would encourage other student-athletes to come to Wichita State.”