Florida International University has suspended its first-year women’s basketball coach, Marlin Chinn, in the wake of a player’s accusations that he has been making unwanted sexual advances toward her. That player, Destini Feagin, also filed a complaint with the NCAA that Chinn caused her to commit a violation when he loaned her $600 in December.
In addition, Feagin, a senior team captain, told the Miami Herald that after she and her mother complained to the NCAA and spoke Thursday to FIU officials about Chinn’s behavior, he suspended her for four games. That not only likely ended Feagin’s career, given that the 4-23 Panthers have two regular season games left and will have the lowest seed in the Conference USA tournament, it prevented her from participating in Senior Night ceremonies on Friday.
Chinn, who spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at Maryland, told the Herald that Feagin’s suspension was due to a violation of team policies, but he had no comment on the player’s allegations of sexual misconduct. Feagin said to the newspaper that she had borrowed a teammate’s school-issued card to buy food and that her mother had repaid the amount she spent with it.
The university made this statement Tuesday: “FIU is conducting an investigation into allegations made against Coach Marlin Chinn. Based on the allegations, the university has suspended Coach Chinn, pending the outcome of the investigation. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the university will not provide additional comments at this time.”
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) March 1, 2016
Feagin told the Herald she thought that because the money was going to help her register for a class and maintain her eligibility, it wasn’t an NCAA violation. She said that Chinn took her to a bank and gave her the cash, then, the following day, told her, “You will pay me back. In other ways.”
Those were hardly the first inappropriate comments the coach made to Feagin, according to the account she provided to the newspaper. “Commenting on my looks, my body, frame, my breasts, my behind,” she said. “The way I smile. He would go into detail what his sexual thoughts were.”
Feagin showed the Herald text messages from “Coach Chinn,” including the following: “Hey Sista!!! I ain’t seen u in a while!! Got to put my Good Eye on u!!”; and “I want you to have so much more to offer ANYONE that wants to be a part of u after they get pass how good ur face and body looks!!!”
The Herald also published an email from another Panthers player, Jade Cheek, in which the sophomore guard said, “My teammate Destini Feagin is in a situation where it seems our head coach is trying to pursue a sexual relationship/encounter with her. … I have caught him countless of times staring at Destini even before any of this happened. As a player I do not trust him anymore because I wouldn’t want a coach to do this to me. Other teammates and I have noticed this from coach and how he looks at her.”
— Miami Herald Sports (@HeraldSports) March 1, 2016
Feagin shared a recording of Chinn she made on her iPhone, in which the coach said, “Attracted to a woman I have, number one, no business being with because I’m coaching her.” Feagin also claimed that Chinn once grabbed her rear during a hug and that he told her while in his office, “I have sexual fantasies about you.”
Chinn, a native of D.C., was described by Maryland Coach Brenda Frese as “a tremendous recruiter” when he was her assistant. He took over the Panthers’ program in April 2015.