George Washington said Thursday it was bringing in “outside” counsel to assist in the investigation of allegations by basketball players against men’s Coach Mike Lonergan, in reaction to a Post article published earlier in the day. The university said that it “will not tolerate retaliation” against players who have expressed objections to the coach.
“As reported today by the Washington Post, the George Washington University is undertaking a Title IX review of allegations against men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan,” the school said in a statement. “Some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX, and the university is bringing in outside counsel to assist in its investigation. The university expects full cooperation and will not tolerate retaliation during the course of the investigation. We will also continue to inform the student-athletes on our men’s basketball team of the university’s support and of the resources available to them.”
Lonergan, entering his sixth season with Colonials, has seen 13 players transfer out of the program in the past five years, including three departures in each of the past four. Some players have complained about “verbal and emotional abuse, as well as player mistreatment” by the coach, but thus there have not been any public consequences for him.
According to the report by The Post’s Adam Kilgore, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has no record of any Title IX investigation at George Washington, nor did any players contacted by The Post say they had heard from the school regarding complaints about Lonergan. The report also contained allegations that Lonergan made explicit remarks about Athletic Director Patrick Nero:
Five current and former players said Lonergan told players Nero requested the practice tapes so he could masturbate while viewing them in his office. The players said Lonergan also told them Nero had engaged in a sexual relationship with a member of the team. Players said they found those comments to be shocking and offensive, with no grounding in reality.
“I will not respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations,” Lonergan said. “These types of accusations have already been investigated by the University and found to be groundless.
“Those who know me know that I conduct myself and run my program with integrity. I have a long record of graduating student-athletes who go on to be successful in life. I am proud of my student-athletes’ success on the court and in the classroom, and I am focused on preparing for the upcoming season.”
Lonergan, 50, grew up and went to high school (Archbishop Carroll) and college (Catholic University) in the D.C. area. He has a record of 97-70 at GW, with one NCAA tournament appearance.