Cincinnati men's basketball coach John Brannen has been suspended, per The Athletic's Justin Williams. The university has opened an investigation into Brannen after six players entered the transfer portal in a span of a few days due to a rift between Brannen and his players.
There is no timeline for his return and it's believed the review is being conducted in order to look for something that would justify the for-cause firing of Brannen.
Brannen's attorney, Tom Mars, told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde "there's absolutely no basis here for coach Brannen to be terminated for cause."
"I've thoroughly reviewed everything that's being investigated by UC's outside counsel," Mars said. "From what I can tell, it appears that Jeff Long must have given UC's AD a copy of the David Beaty playbook."
Long is the former athletic director at Kansas. Beaty is the former football coach for Kansas who sued the school over his firing in 2019. The two parties eventually reached a settlement.
"The University has always put the welfare of its student-athletes first," Kansas director of athletics John Cunningham said in a statement. "We feel this is an essential step to ensure that all of our athletic programs meet the highest standards."
Brannen was hired in 2019 and since he joined the program, seven players he personally recruited have left the program.
"It was just hard. To the point where, at some points during the season, I kind of didn't love the game of basketball," one player told The Athletic. "It wasn't fun to me anymore. I lost the love of the game. And I feel like that's all because of Coach Brannen. That's just being honest. It's not the teammates, not the fans. It was never about that. It was about one guy."
Despite the mass exodus, junior David DeJulius has been one of the voices who has supported his coach.
“All I can speak from is my point of view, and it’s been great with Coach Brannen and the coaching staff,” DeJulius told The Athletic. “I’m very confident that if Coach Brannen is at the helm and we keep as many staff members as possible, I feel we can be a very successful group.”
The Bearcats finished 12–11 in 2021 and didn't qualify for the NCAA men's basketball tournament
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