Board ‘unaware’ of Francis allegations


Bachrouche said Beckie Francis pressured players to embrace christianity

Although there has been a litany of media reports about Beckie Francis being fired for emotionally abusing basketball players, former Board of Trustees Chair Henry Baskin, who served on the board from 1996 to August 2012 and was Chairman for four years, said he was not privy to Francis’ behavior.

“During that time I was unaware of any allegations concerning Ms. Francis and the weight or religious discrimination that is alleged to have been perpetrated by her,” he said. “Indeed if any of these allegations have been brought to any member of the board they would have been referred to the administration for direct action or reaction. The board to my knowledge was completely unaware of the issues which are now being reported concerning her actions as a basketball coach.” 

Jenna Bachrouche, a former OU women’s basketball player, said Francis pushed her players to embrace Christianity.  

Bachrouche said she reached out to Athletic Director Tracy Huth about her concerns. 

“He just apologized,” Bachrouche said. “He said, ‘Anything I can do to help you find another place.’”

Huth is supposed to report directly to the Board, according to Baskin.

“Presumably any such matters would have been handled by the administration and the athletic director and then presented to the Board,” Baskin said. 

Among other reports from the Detroit Free Press, Francis reportedly:

-pressured players to cut down on food intake

-played “head games”

-challenged one player to a weight-loss contest

-penalized a player for not cheering loudly enough at a game

-read Bible verses at a requisite Christmas party for players

-pressured a player to go with her to Christian services

Although no connection has been reported, Oakland University announced three players were leaving the women’s basketball program the same time “indications of conduct and behavior of the women’s basketball head coach … came to the attention of an Oakland University administrator in April.” 

Sisters Annemarie and Liz Hamlet transferred to play Valparaiso University

Shelby Herrington transferred to play at Saginaw Valley State University 

Liz Hamlet declined to comment on the situation saying, “I would not like to be a part of this.” 

She referred the Post to Valparaiso’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations, Aaron Leavitt.

Leavitt wrote in an email, “I can confirm that both Elizabeth and Annemarie Hamlet have transferred from Oakland to Valparaiso – Elizabeth will play out her final season of eligibility this year without having to sit out a season since she is a fifth-year graduate transfer. Annemarie will have to sit out this season and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2014-2015 season.”