Kevin Nickelberry, the head basketball coach at Howard University, is being sued by former players for allegedly misleading the players about the nature of the school’s basketball program and showing gross negligence that led to physical, emotional and financial harm.
According to a report from the Washington Post, ex-Howard university players Ausar Madison and Kai Tease allege that Wallace — who has been the head coach at Howard since 2010 — verbally and emotionally abused them, ordered them to practice in a manner that routinely and methodically exceeds what is allowed under NCAA regulations.
Furthermore, Nickelberry forced both players to play while injured, causing them to both suffer Jones fractures in their feet. Nickelberry is also accused of reneging on promises of athletic scholarships.
As a result, Madison and Tease are seeking upwards of $9 million in damages.
According to the lawsuit, in the summer of 2013, Nickelberry “guaranteed” Madison “a perpetual scholarship” set to begin in the 2014-15 season but reneged on his promise three separate times, each time assuring Madison he would receive a scholarship beginning the following year. Madison, who is in his fifth year at Howard, left the basketball program in January 2017 and “has never received any funds from an athletic scholarship.”
Tease, whom the lawsuit notes requires special academic support because of a learning disability, signed an athletic scholarship with Howard in or around November 2015. The lawsuit states that “Nickelberry personally ensured that Tease would receive all the academic support required, supplied an subsidized by Howard,” but that Tease never received such accommodations. He left the university in December.
According to the lawsuit, Nickelberry ordered his players to participate in an “impermissible” practice and training schedule that violated NCAA regulations, including punitive practices after losses that took place the same day as the game. The lawsuit also states that Nickelberry forced both players to play while injured despite their protestations and warnings from the school’s athletic trainers.
While at Howard, Nickelberry has compiled an abysmal 74–172 record as head basketball coach.
Howard University, located in Washington D.C., is a predominantly African-American school that has produced the most black doctorate recipients of any university in the nation.