Laura Salmeron was supposed to enroll at Syracuse this summer and join the women's basketball program. Instead, she will play at Loyola University, the school announced on Wednesday. Salmeron, who is originally from Spain, signed with Syracuse as part of the Orange's 2020 class. However, she stayed overseas last season due to the pandemic and was slated to join the program this year.
Salmeron is the fifth player to leave the program in the wake of former head coach Quentin Hillsman's resignation on August 2nd. In addition to Salmeron, incoming class of 2021 recruits Amani Bartlett, Shayeann Day-Wilson and Latasha Lattimore all elected to find another home. Incoming transfer Shalexxus Aaron has re-entered the portal.
Bartlett announced her decision to commit to LSU on social media. Day-Wilson and Lattimore both confirmed they would not enroll at Syracuse. Reports of Aaron's re-entrance into the portal surfaced Tuesday.
The departures leave Syracuse with 10 scholarship players entering the 2021-22 season.
The five players who have left subsequent to Hillsman's resignation make 17 overall since the end of last season. Twelve players initially transferred out of Syracuse following the 2020-21 campaign, which prompted questions about the program. The Athletic reported allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior against Hillsman.
“The allegations reported in The Athletic today are troubling," Sarah Scalese, Senior Associate Vice President for Communications told Syracuse.com in a statement after the report was made public. "Based on the nature of these allegations, Syracuse University is engaging an outside firm to conduct an independent review and will take appropriate action based on its outcome.
"While no formal complaints have been made to date from members of the women’s basketball program, we take these allegations very seriously. We ask any individual who has knowledge of or has experienced this kind of conduct to come forward. Syracuse University remains focused on the well-being and success of our student-athletes."
Weeks later, Hillsman resigned from his post before the investigation concluded.
"The University has accepted Coach Quentin Hillsman’s resignation," Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in the statement after Hillsman resigned. "Coach Hillsman and I agreed that parting ways is in the best interest of the University, the program and our student-athletes. We wish him and his family all the best. Interim leadership for the Women’s Basketball Program will be announced in the coming days.
"As previously announced, the University retained an external law firm to conduct a review of the program. That review is ongoing, and the Department of Athletics will address issues that are identified at the conclusion of the review.
"We remain focused on providing the best experience possible – one that prioritizes the well-being of all student-athletes and positions them for success in competition, in the classroom, in their communities and in life beyond Syracuse University."
Among the allegations in the report from The Athletic were the following:
- Hillsman threatening players that he would "f--- you guys up" even though they knew he would never physically harm them.
- Standing before every player at halftime of a game during the 2019-20 season and saying "I don't give a f--- about you" before flipping over a table.
- Hillsman coming up behind a player, wrapping his arms around her with his hands placed near her pelvic region.
- Three women felt uncomfortable after Hillsman kissed them on the forehead following a discussion about playing time.
- Hired a longtime friend, Ronnie Enoch, who had been accused of sexual harassment at a previous job. Enoch allegedly made players and managers feel uncomfortable.
- Two players described instances where Hillsman refused to provide water to players after running punishing sprints.