“It challenged if basketball was even worth it”: Former Gators women’s basketball player comes forward about alleged abuse from former head coach
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Another athlete who played under former University of Florida women’s basketball coach Cam Newbauer is speaking out about her experience with the team.
Emer Nichols transferred to UF in 2018 and had to sit out due to NCAA rules at the time. During her time on the team, she developed several health conditions that ultimately led to her being diagnosed with the auto-immune disease Lupus. Nichols feels its onset could have been stress-induced.
“I was diagnosed with Lupus in October of 2019 and I really do believe that being in such a stressful environment is what brought on my Lupus. I was a transfer from (Texas)A&M, so I had been in a college environment before, and I had never felt some of the stress, just the depression, the mental battle that I felt every day trying to be perfect so I wouldn’t get yelled at our punished or whatever,” said Nichols.
After being diagnosed, Nichols says contact with coaches went away almost altogether.
“Just within that whole time, not one coach spoke to me. It would be maybe some days like a ‘hey.’ Not ‘how are you doing’ or ‘how is your pain.’ but I never had anyone call me,” said Nichols.
Several other athletes also spoke about allegations of abuse from Newbauer in an article published Monday by the Independent Alligator.
When Nichols heard about Newbauer resigning, she was frustrated.
“He resigned for personal reasons, you didn’t fire him he resigned. I just feel like it was a failure by the athletic association to listen to us. Just because we might be young, we know how to be treated, we know how to respect someone, and we know when we should be respected as well,” said Nichols.
Ultimately, it is safe to say Nichols and others view Newbauer’s tenure as the head of Gators women’s basketball as a failure.“Cam came to change a program, but we did worse than what they did when Coach Butler was here,” said Nichols.
Nichols’s final message to those who work with college athletes is a simple one.
“We need our voices to be heard and we deserve it. For everything that we do, we deserve for someone to listen to us completely and fully,” said Nichols.
UF Atheltic Director Scott Stricklin did release a statement in response to the article, you can read that for statement here.
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