On Oct. 21, Penn State men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned about three and a half months after the university launched an investigation into a remark he made to former guard Rasir Bolton.
Now, a month after Chambers’ abrupt resignation, little is still known about the decision — by both the Penn State community and the players.
Though it’s easy as journalists to state our desire for more information, it’s the latter group that most deserves answers from Penn State, especially as players went out of their way to express frustration about the situation at the team’s first media availability of the season.
Many of the team’s prominent players spoke in support of Chambers at the availability, asking for answers and voicing disagreement with the resignation.
We don’t know the facts of the investigation. The players and the Penn State community deserve some answers so they can make fair judgments about the situation.
Chambers coached the team for nine years, and accusations against him have surfaced in the past 18 months. Specifically, Chambers shoved guard Myles Dread at a January 2019 game, and in the same month he told Bolton, “I need to get some of this pressure off you. I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”
It is unclear whether or not these events were the focus of the investigation into Chambers’ conduct. This has created understandable confusion among the players.
Senior guard Jamari Wheeler has spoken out about how he has never experienced any incidents of racism with Chambers in the four years he’s played for the team.
“I know there’s a bunch of things about him being racist,” Wheeler said most recently at the Nov. 18 availability. “I’ve been here four years — a Black athlete that plays for him and is all the way from Florida… not one time was Coach [Chambers] racist or anything like that — so it’s just confusing and a misunderstanding.”
The conversation around Chambers’ resignation has centered on whether or not Chambers is racist. However, we don’t know if allegations of racism pressured him to resign or what Penn State’s investigation found.
This ambiguity creates multiple issues.
Though the university doesn’t typically make information about personal investigations public, clarity is needed for the sake of the players, the program and Chambers’ future.
The current players deserve to know why Chambers resigned so they can judge the situation for themselves and the team can move forward. It is unfair that the players have been left in the dark about something so crucial to their college experiences, regardless of whether or not they support Chambers.
Since Chambers left, the entire 2021 recruiting class decommitted, with one recruit specifically citing Chambers’ departure.
Additionally, some sort of public statement would help the Penn State and college basketball communities understand the resignation. As Chambers looks for a new job, transparency would help other colleges fairly judge whether or not they might hire him.
It’s admirable that players have chosen to use their voices to speak out about Chambers’ resignation.
Penn State athletes are urged to remain tight-lipped about internal or controversial issues. Though a statement from Penn State Athletics commended the players for speaking out about Chambers’ resignation, this statement isn’t consistent with sports information director Rose Carter’s actions on Nov. 18.
When Wheeler began to share details regarding the days leading up to Chambers’ resignation, he was cut off by Carter.
Penn State’s lack of transparency has caused nothing but confusion and frustration. Though the media may never get details from Penn State about what happened, the university at the very least owes the players these details.
It’s a shame that a university that benefits so much from its athletic program doesn’t respect athletes enough to keep them informed.
Daily Collegian Opinion Editor Grace Miller can be reached at email@example.com.