Four of the seven players who have left Oregon State over the last month or so spoke to the Gazette Times, and none of it is good:
The big difference? She said the team’s coach, LaVonda Wagner, did not treat the players appropriately.
“Basically we were called names,” Champion said. “It was antagonizing stuff, basically going at us emotionally. She would go at us in practice until someone would break down and cry.”
Lanz said that Wagner was verbally abusive.
“She never hit anybody or anything but she would pull people around unnecessarily and a lot of times she would get in people’s faces,” Lanz said.
Lanz said Wagner conducted daily double practices over Christmas break that went for a total of seven to eight hours a day.
She also said during the season the team’s typical practice hours were from 8 to 11:30 a.m. or noon, depending on the day, with film sessions at 7:30 a.m. The players had to arrive at 6:30 a.m. to get taped. Then the team would have additional gym time from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
“It was pretty much an extra practice and on top of that we would also lift a couple times a week,” Lanz said.
Lanz said on game days the team would have a shoot-around. She said most teams use that time to warm up for a game and get their shooting touch working, but Wagner conducted that time like a practice.
“If we were home the shoot-around would go for around two hours and was a typical practice setup,” Lanz said. “If we were away it would go about an hour and a half.”
Sadler’s reason for leaving was Wagner.
“(Wagner’s) demeanor with the players was degrading,” Sadler said. “She could have more compassion talking to us. I think she could have given us more respect as humans.”
Erica Sadler said that Wagner was not upfront with her about Eboni’s situation with the team.
“When I got up to Oregon things were hidden from me,” Erica Sadler said. “And everyone was scared to death of her. When she was around everyone would clam up. They wouldn’t talk.”
Finally they got some answers. An OSU trainer who had been working with Sadler pulled Erica aside.
“A trainer who is no longer there confided in me and told me to get my daughter out of there because LaVonda was trying to break her down,” Erica Sadler said. “It was just the mind games that she did. It had nothing to do with basketball-related stuff. It was just mental abuse.”
What will the OSU athletic director do now?