BOWLING GREEN — Ali Mann, one of the best players in the history of the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball program, resigned as an assistant coach after she admitted she was involved in a “consensual amorous relationship” with a student in the program.
Mann, 27, who was in her first season as a coach for BG, tendered her resignation Feb. 21.
BG athletics director Greg Christopher was asked if the situation involved an NCAA violation, harassment of a student in the program, or a criminal violation, he said, “We have no reason to believe that this situation [violated] any of those.”
Christopher said the situation first came to light on Monday, Feb. 18, when several members of the team met with head coach Jennifer Roos about a relationship between Mann and a “student” within the program.
Christopher made it a point to refer to the individual involved in the relationship as a “student,” with the inference that it could be a player, student manager, student trainer or practice player. The team’s practice players are males.
That evening Roos spoke with Mann and the student involved, and Tuesday morning Roos notified Christopher and associate AD Leslie Irvine, the school’s senior women’s administrator, about the relationship. Irvine later spoke with the members of the team that were involved with the situation.
On Wednesday the BG administrators met with Roos, Mann, and the student individually, and at the conclusion of those meetings the school decided to initiate a formal inquiry involving the university’s human resources department.
“We informed both Ali and the team about this inquiry, and what it meant,” Christopher said. “We told them that it was tied to a university HR policy, and it would start in a day or so.
“We also emphasized that this was a process, and we needed to be thorough and fair. We also noted that Ali’s status had not changed — she had not been suspended or anything like that.”
BG’s Consensual Amorous Relationships Policy states that supervisors and faculty "are not to have supervisory, evaluative, instructional, coaching or other relationships with student or employees with whom they have or have had a consensual amorous relationship."
Among the disciplinary actions listed for those who fail to abide by the policy are a temporary suspension or "other measures as the case may warrant."
Mann was not with the team that night for the a home game against Akron. She was sent to a high school contest between Notre Dame and Bowsher for recruiting purposes.
Late Wednesday night Mann asked for a meeting, and at that meeting last Thursday she confirmed the consensual relations with a student and then resigned.
Her one-paragraph resignation noted that Thursday, Feb. 21 was her final day, and, “I appreciate the opportunity that Jennifer and the department have given me and good luck moving forward.”
Christopher accepted the resignation that day; and he said Mann was not asked to resign. With Mann’s resignation, the inquiry regarding the incident was over before it had begun.
Christopher said the university used the term “personal reasons” to explain Mann’s resignation in deference to the student involved as well as the program.
“This is a very sensitive topic, and it is emotional for everyone involved,” he said. “The decision to delay laying out the timeline was based completely on the welfare of the team.
“If we had done everything on Friday, I believe that real damage would have been done to the team.”
When asked about the “damage” that could have been caused, Christopher said, “I didn’t want the parents of those involved with our team … to read this in the newspapers before their kids had a chance to touch base with them. We’re trying to be as transparent as we can within the law. But we wanted everyone to take a deep breath and process everything. We didn’t want to make the emotions even more raw than they were.”
Christopher declined comment on whether the student involved would face any type of discipline, citing privacy issues.
“This is still a sensitive topic, and we still have very real privacy issues,” he said. “But now everyone has had a chance to catch their breath and start processing what we’re going through. The players have had time to talk with parents, and we have had time to talk with parents.
“I don’t think anyone has tucked this away and forgotten about it. We have some very real emotions that we need to work through. Ali was a huge part of this program.”
Mann was one of the top players in the program's history, leading BG to Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament titles in each of her final three seasons, helping the Falcons become the first team to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2007 NCAA tournament.
The native of Chelsea, Mich., finished her career ranked second in school history in scoring and third in rebounding, with 1,825 points and 911 boards. She earned all-conference honors in each of her four seasons, and became the sixth player in MAC history to be named MAC Player of the Year, MAC Freshman of the Year, and MAC Tournament MVP during her career.
The program will not hire a replacement for Mann until after the season. An attempt to contact Mann at her parent’s house was unsuccessful.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.