DeUnna Hendrix, former Miami University women’s basketball coach, resigned on Wednesday, citing competitive reasons in an interview with The Miami Student. On Friday, The Athletic reported that she resigned after an investigation revealed “intimate” text messages she exchanged with a player.
“Those communications, provided to The Athletic by a university source, include a string of over 180 text messages spanning an 11-day period,” the report said. “In them, Hendrix wrote ‘I love you’ and ‘You’re my baby’ and told the player ‘I. Can’t. Wait. To. Squeeze. You.’ In all, more than 30 of the messages were of an intimate nature.”
In a statement to The Student, Alecia Lipton, Miami University Associate Director of Media Relations, said the university’s priority was the health and safety of its athletes.
“When Miami University learned of information suggesting that DeUnna Hendrix, former women's head basketball coach, was in violation of university policy, it took swift action by placing her on interim suspension as it conducted an investigation,” Lipton wrote. “There were no allegations of criminal activity nor was there an indication of a Title IX Sexual Misconduct violation, however this investigation led to her resignation. Had she not resigned, the university would have pursued the termination process.”
The Athletic’s report states that Miami Athletic Director David Sayler became aware of the text messages on April 19, and Hendrix was suspended the next day.
In an interview with The Student on Wednesday, just following the announcement that Hendrix had resigned, Hendrix was somber but only talked about basketball reasons for her resignation. She said that leaving was her choice.
“It’s pretty matter of fact,” Hendrix said. “Just looking at the state of the program, with some valuable pieces jumping in the portal and obviously, we've been building for four years. So going into a contract year, it was really important that all the pieces stay in place. And so when it didn't look that way, you know, I just felt like I needed to slide over and let somebody else take the reins. So that's where we're at with it.”
In one text exchange with the player, Hendrix referenced a married couple who had been together for many years and said “Doing this with you openly would be more than ideal.” Then, in a text on April 9, Hendrix wrote “TODAY IS THE DAYYYYYY that my girl returns to me” and that “the airport will be clear of Miami WBB employees.”
The player also made intimate comments in the exchange, including professing her love for Hendrix.
A Miami spokesperson said that the school’s investigation of the matter is now closed.
According to The Athletic, which obtained Hendrix’s resignation letter via a public records request, her resignation is contingent upon “the university responding to all third-party inquiries about her employment ‘by providing only my dates of employment and position held.’” Further, it states that Sayler “agrees he will not disparage me or make any statements to others that may be considered to be derogatory or detrimental to my good name or reputation.”
In her statement to The Student, Lipton added that much of the information surrounding Hendrix’s resignation is private.
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“With our student athletes’ well-being at the forefront of our concerns, and to protect their rights to confidentiality under FERPA, the University accepted the Coach's resignation on Wednesday, April 26,” Lipton wrote. “We continue to support our student athletes with resources and recognize how difficult this past week has been. Much of the underlying information surrounding events remains confidential and protected student information under FERPA.”
According to The Athletic, Hendrix did not respond to phone calls or text messages seeking comment. The Student also reached out to Hendrix and did not receive a response.