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Former Basketball Players File Discrimination Suit Against Cotte - KOAM TV 7

Former Basketball Players File Discrimination Suit Against Cottey College

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NEVADA, MISSOURI -

Three former students-athletes have filed a lawsuit against Cottey College in Nevada. All 3 were members of the women's basketball program and claim they were treated unfairly because of their race.

The 3 African American girls recruited to Cottey College to play basketball say they didn't get the experience they deserved walking in to the Hinkhouse Center to play. They've filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming they were treated differently than the other students based on their race.

“When they were practicing the teams were being split up based on color and multiple times a number of the girls wouldn't get to play even though their talent shows they should be playing if not starting," says Dan Zmijewski with DRZ Law out of Kansas City.

“The coach was treating white players and African American players differently, punishing them differently, having different standards of conduct for them, refer to them as the "black attack," it was quite clear in terms of her preferential treatment of white players,” says Chris Dove, also a partner at DRZ.

They say that the player's attempts to talk to the coach and administration about the issues led to further punishments.

“Our belief really is that them having the tenacity to question this, to even bring this up, to bring this treatment up is what got them kicked off of the team and kicked out of the dorms,” says Dove.

It’s required for all Cottey College students to live in a residence hall on campus. In December 2015, the 3 student were told they were expelled from the residence halls for being disruptive. According to the college handbook, in that situation the procedure is to allow the student to defend themselves. The students say they were never give that opportunity and since they were expelled from the residence halls they were also expelled from the school.

The college issued a statement saying:

Given that the matter has proceeded to litigation, we believe commenting on the particulars would be inappropriate, except to say that there has been no unlawful treatment of our students.  Cottey College is committed to equal opportunity and an inclusive college experience for all students, in the academic, athletic, and co-curricular settings. We take these matters very seriously and are committed to providing a sound, healthy campus environment for all of our students, including our student athletes.

The 3 students are seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

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