SC women's basketball coach Dawn Staley filed a civil lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk on Thursday, claiming defamation and slander in the SC court of common pleas.
He said SC fans spat on Missouri players and he thought Staley "promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it's unfortunate that she felt she had to do that".
Staley, who filed the suit on Thursday in Richland County, cites the "defendant's tortious and defamatory statements", as the reason for the suit, which also requests a jury trial.
The lawsuit stems from public comments made by Sterk after the second of two hotly contested games between the Gamecocks and the Tigers.
An investigation by Gamecocks officials found no evidence such behavior had taken place during the game, a heated affair that included a benches-clearing melee and the ejection of two Tigers players.
"Both Missouri and SC have cultivated highly successful women's basketball programs, which enjoy tremendous fan support and have earned the respect of this office", Sankey said in a news release.
"And unfortunately I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it's unfortunate that she felt she had to do that". She lives the talk", Tanner said, via SB Nation's Gamecocks blog, Garnet and Black Attack "She's not just a coach that gets out front once in a while.
Staley, a member of the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame and a seven-time WNBA All-Star, guided the Gamecocks to the NCAA championship in 2017.
"I welcome the review from the Southeastern Conference into our game management procedures and visiting team security". Unfortunately, a mutual resolution does not appear imminent. The suit is in response to comments Sterk made suggesting Staley has incited fans to act in the rowdy, testy nature they did when the Gamecocks and Tigers met on January 28. "Our hope is that we can direct our focus back where it belongs - on our student-athletes and on-court competition".
As for SC, the SEC assigned league associate commissioner for competition and senior woman administrator, Tiffany Daniels, and associate commissioner for legal affairs and compliance, William King, to work with SC athletic director Ray Tanner to "review and, if necessary, further refine game management issues" at the SEC school. "Our goal is to explore additional mechanisms for enhancing each visiting team's experience before, during and after competition".
"The accusations, are serious and false", she said.
"Coach Staley is going to be focused on coaching her team and winning games, and my colleagues ... and I will be focused on handling the lawsuit". Sankey said he had spoken to both Sterk and Tanner, the SC athletic director, about the matter.
The lawsuit says Staley has suffered damage to her reputation, and is asking for actual, compensatory, and punitive damages for a total of $75,000. "They're loyal, they're passionate, they understand basketball, they understand how to act in the stands". "I stand by what they represent. I stand by every single thing that they bring to the building because it's appropriate and well within game rules".