SMU Women's Basketball HC Travis Mays Told Players to 'Commit Suicide'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 6, 2020

SMU head coach Travis Mays during an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Multiple people who were at an SMU women's basketball practice during the 2017-18 season said head coach Travis Mays told his players to take their own lives if they weren't going to compete, according to Sam Blum of the Dallas Morning News. 

Klara Bradshaw, a player on that team, wrote in a blog post that Mays told the team after a practice during that season: "If y'all don't want to get it together, if y'all don't get together and get connected, you might as well go and commit suicide."

Others in attendance at the practice confirmed the story to Blum, and "described a debilitating and divisive culture fostered by Mays, including needlessly cutting players from the roster, threatening to speak negatively to future employers and taking issue with a player not running due to injury."

SMU athletic director Rick Hart told Blum Mays made the comment and said "it's absolutely a term that shouldn't be used in any capacity or any form."

Mays is in his fourth season as SMU's head coach.

Blum reported McKenzie Adams, another former player, echoed Bradshaw's experience, saying on Twitter the 2017-18 campaign was "one of the most mentally traumatic experiences ever."

Mays did not comment to the Dallas Morning News but made a statement after the Mustangs' home game on Monday.

"It's one of those things where sometimes you can push," Mays said in part, per Blum. "And it's our job to push people outside of their comfort zones. And sometimes you can say things, whether it's using the wrong verbiage or at the wrong time when you don't need to express some of that."

SMU entered Wednesday with a 9-11 record and 3-5 mark in American Athletic Conference play.