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Cincinnati to Investigate Allegations Surrounding Men's Basketball Program

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2021

Houston celebrates with a team photo at Dickies Arena following their win over Cincinnati in an NCAA college basketball game in the final round of the American Athletic Conference men's tournament Sunday, March 14, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The University of Cincinnati announced Friday that it will conduct an internal investigation into allegations made against the men's basketball program, according to Justin Williams of The Athletic. 

Per Williams, Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said: "The University has always put the welfare of its student-athletes first. We feel this is an essential step to ensure that all of our athletic programs meet the highest standards."

The university noted that it is using "independent fact finders" to conduct the investigation.

The investigation comes after Williams reported a "rift" had developed between players and head coach John Brannen which resulted in a "mass roster exodus" as six players entered the transfer portal in the days following the team's loss to Houston in the AAC tournament title game. Seven players Brannen has recruited since 2019 have left the program, and just two of seven players who joined the team ahead of the 2020-21 season remain, per Williams.

The University of Cincinnati did not specify what allegations were made against the program or when they were made.

While the nature of the allegations being investigated is unclear, Williams reported that some players took "their concerns directly to Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham in recent days and weeks."

Cincy is coming off a 12-11 record in its second season under head coach John Brannen. Despite the Bearcats' poor record, they fell just one win short of the NCAA tournament.

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Cincinnati went 20-10 in Brannen's first season, but there was no NCAA tournament held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under previous head coach Mick Cronin, who is currently coaching UCLA in the NCAA tournament, the Bearcats reached the NCAA tournament in nine straight seasons from 2010-11 through 2018-19.

With Cronin at the helm, the Bearcats won two AAC regular-season titles and two AAC conference tournament titles, and they also reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament once.

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