Lawyer for University of Arkansas Basketball Coach Issues Statement Denying Discrimination Claims
An attorney for men’s basketball coach Jim Boone from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has sent a statement to The Source detailing his investigation of allegations of racial discrimination made by former UAFS player Tyler Williams.
In the five-page statement from the Mars Law Firm on behalf of Boone, the representative alleges that Williams “intended to transfer from UA-FS all along and knew that, unless he could show his transfer was the result of being mistreated by the coaching staff or being ‘runoff,’ the NCAA rules would prohibit him playing basketball at another school next year.”
The statement also alleges that on Aug. 15 when the star student arrived on campus for the fall semester, Williams called UAFS athletic director Curtis Janz and texted an assistant coach complaining about the location of his locker and “demanded that he be given his old locker.”
In the audio provided exclusively to The Oklahoman, Williams is heard asking Boone directly about the decision to move “only his locker,” to which Boone responded, “I understand that you texted the athletic director who has nothing to do with that, this is my program- do you understand me-mine.” It wasn’t until after Tyler’s father interjected that Boone admitted that Tyler’s locker was the only locker of the returning students that was relocated, but stated that he “had nothing to do with it.”
The attorney provided statement goes on to allege that the audio given to the press by Williams of the Aug. 16 meeting between the Williams family and Boone was “heavily edited,” and that it omitted a post-meeting conversation in which Williams can be heard laughing and having a “friendly conversation” with the assistant who assigned him his locker, an allegation that the publication vehemently denies.
“The audio received by The Oklahoman was received unedited from Williams,” the publication wrote, “Only the audible meeting was posted along with the transcript of that meeting between Boone and the Williams family, which is audible. The full transcript and audio was posted online and can be heard here.”
As previously reported, Williams was dismissed from the UAFS team during an Aug. 16 meeting in which the Williams family accused Boone of making racially insensitive comments about Tyler Williams’ choice of dreadlocked hairstyle during an offseason meeting. Williams alleged that Boone told him when they first met in the offseason “I do not like your hair, and I will not recruit players with hair like yours.”
Coach Jim Boone was recently added to the staff at UAFS and is set to coach his first season at the university for the 2019-20 season, the announcement of his positioning as Head Men’s Basketball coach was announced back in April of this year.
Since his dismissal, Tyler Williams has since enrolled at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma and is practicing with the basketball team. Both SNU and UAFS are NCAA Division II schools.
Check out the full attorney response here.