Former Florida women's basketball players allege abuse by ex-coach Cameron Newbauer

Erick Smith
USA TODAY

Former women's basketball players at the University of Florida have detailed allegations of abuse by ex-head coach Cameron Newbauer, who resigned from his position in July.

Five players told the The Independent Florida Alligator that Newbauer created an abusive environment and would throw balls and scream at player during practice. They said injuries were overlooked or disregarded, and some players were removed from scholarship because of performance.

“For him, I felt very, 'You’re only useful to me on the court,’ ” former player Sydney Morang told the Alligator. “ ‘I don’t really care about anything about you or how I treat you other than that.'”

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin addressed the article in a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Monday.

“It is our responsibility to provide a championship experience with integrity, along with the necessary support, for Gators student-athletes and staff," Stricklin said.

"The culture of the women’s program under head coach Cam Newbauer described in The Independent Florida Alligator article is in no way consistent with the values of the University of Florida.

"At times during coach Newbauer’s tenure there were concerns brought to our attention. Each time, additional information was sought, and these concerns were addressed directly with Cam as we required corrective actions and outlined clear expectations of behavior moving forward. Additionally, the (university) provided enhanced administrative oversight and presence within the program and sought anonymous feedback directly from student-athletes and staff.

"Ultimately, we did not see the required improvements, and following discussions with coach Newbauer he made the decision to resign.”

Cameron Newbauer was the Florida women's basketball coach from 2017 to '21.

The Alligator said Newbauer did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him.

Morang was on the team during Newbauer's first season in 2017 before she left because of multiple concussions. Her brother was a practice player for the team that season, but he said he quit due to the behavior he witnessed by Newbauer.

Cydnee Kinslow, who played for the team last season, said the emotional toll on players was noticeable.

“He would make them cry,” Kinslow told the Alligator. “Push until they cried, whatever it was, like, he tried. There’s a breaking point for people and pushing them through a wall to make them stronger. And then there’s what Cameron Newbauer did.”

Kinslow said Newbauer told her and another Black player to change their clothes and cover up their tattoos because he didn't want to expose his daughter to them. She also said that one former player attempted suicide before quitting the team and returning home.

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Morang’s parents made one of the attempts to raise the issue of Newbauer's behavior. They told the Alligator they sent a letter to Florida president Kent Fuchs and Stricklin in 2018 that outlined their concerns.

“Thank you for taking the time to write to me,” Stricklin wrote in an email back. “It is truly important to me and everyone on our staff that Gator student-athletes have a valuable experience, and we are always open to learning how we can improve. … Lynda Tealer met with Sydney and two other members of the women’s basketball team. We will consider all the information we have received and work to make enhancements that improves the experience for our students.”

However, it was three more years until Newbauer left. His resignation on July 16 came less than four months before what was supposed to be his fifth season with Florida. A release from the school cited personal reasons for his departure, which was one month after he agreed to a contract extension through the 2024-25 season.

Newbauer was 46-71 during his tenure in Gainesville, and none of his teams finished with a winning record. The Gators appeared in last season's Women's National Invitational Tournament.

Kelly Rae Finley was named the team's interim coach and will serve that role for the upcoming season before a permanent replacement is hired.