AMHERST — University of Massachusetts athletic director Ryan Bamford said an outside investigator hired by the school found no evidence to corroborate the allegations made against members of the UMass men’s basketball coaching staff in a lawsuit filed in December.
The complaint filed by Ayanna Hickman alleges that Lou Roe, her ex-boyfriend and the program’s director of basketball operations, and other members of the staff violated her civil rights in 2013. She claims Roe, assistant coach Shyrone Chatman and former strength coach Rich Hogans detained her against her will and intimidated her in a team office. Hickman accused then head coach Derek Kellogg of encouraging and participating in a cover-up of the alleged incident.
Hickman says she attempted to depart but was prevented from leaving the office.
“Roe and Chatman told Hickman that she could not talk about drug use or domestic violence by team members or staff,” the lawsuit states.
Roe was placed on paid administrative leave in December 2016, the same month the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Bamford’s statement, released by the athletic department, said the school hired an investigator that same month.
“In December 2016, UMass officials took prompt action when they learned, for the first time, of allegations concerning the December 2013 conduct of members of the men’s basketball coaching staff and student-athletes.
“At this time, UMass took appropriate measures including hiring an outside investigator to independently review the matter,” Bamford said.
“This review found no evidence to support any of the allegations regarding the conduct of student-athletes or coaching staff. The NCAA has not notified UMass that these allegations constitute a violation of NCAA rules, and the NCAA has not indicated that any investigation is being considered. UMass is not aware of any evidence that any violation of NCAA regulations occurred.”
Hogans was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, and the Gazette was unable to reach Kellogg and Chatman. Phone calls to Mark Tanner, Roe’s attorney, were not returned. Hogans left UMass following the 2013 season. Chatman is still an assistant coach, while Roe remains on administrative leave with pay.
Bamford’s statement reiterated that Kellogg’s firing last week wasn’t connected to the lawsuit.
“Last week, UMass made a change in the leadership of its men’s basketball program,” Bamford said. “There is absolutely no connection between the decision to relieve men’s basketball head coach Derek Kellogg of his duties and the lawsuit or the allegations it contains.”
Hickman’s complaint is not the first time she has taken Roe to court. Hickman had successfully filed for a restraining order against Roe in 2014, alleging he had abused her, according to court documents. And in 2015, a judge ordered Roe to pay back child support for the son he and Hickman had together in April 2014. Hickman’s current lawsuit against Roe describes their relationship as “intimate but tempestuous,” and accuses Roe of having physically abused her in the past.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.