Florida International U

FIU says Feagin was suspended before sexual assault allegations

Florida International University's Destini Feagin (21) gets ready to shoot during a basketball game against the Rice Owls at the FIU Arena on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.
Florida International University's Destini Feagin (21) gets ready to shoot during a basketball game against the Rice Owls at the FIU Arena on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. mocner@miamiherald.com

In a Thursday email to students and faculty, FIU says women’s basketball captain Destini Feagin was suspended Feb. 23 for a team violation involving FIU police, two days before she reported allegations of sexual harassment against head coach Marlin Chinn.

The email also stated Chinn remains suspended pending an investigation in to Feagin’s claims. It doesn’t address how the decision was made to allow Chinn to coach the Feb. 27 game against Florida Atlantic or the veracity of Feagin’s claims.

FIU lost at Alabama-Birmingham 71-42 on Thursday night.

The email, which doesn’t mention Feagin by name, says a criminal theft investigation involving Feagin was opened by FIU police on Feb. 15. As stated in a Miami Herald report Tuesday, Feagin put $350 on a teammate’s Athletic Panther Bucks card, a team violation for which she was suspended.

Feagin’s mother, Joi Nicholson, reimbursed the teammate’s account Monday, and both Feagin and Nicholson admitted Feagin should be disciplined for the violation.

The FIU email reads: “Based on information provided to the Athletic Department on February 22, the student-athlete was suspended from the women’s basketball team the following day. Subsequently, the student-athlete reported serious allegations against an FIU employee. Investigations have already started under Title IX guidelines and NCAA by-laws. Based on the information gathered so far, head women’s basketball coach Marlin Chinn has been suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation.”

According to the FIU email, Feagin was suspended Feb. 23. Feagin said Chinn told her she was suspended Feb. 24. Feagin said she reported her allegations to FIU athletics on Feb. 25 and also told FIU president Mark Rosenberg after a chance encounter on campus that day that she had been sexually harassed.

The Miami Herald emailed FIU external relations and FIU media relations at 1:28 p.m. Wednesday asking whether Rosenberg acknowledged the meeting and hearing Feagin’s allegations.

FIU external relations sent the Miami Herald an email at 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, reading, “Will find out and let you know.”

As of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, there had been no further response from FIU.

FIU came close to pulling off the biggest upset in women's college basketball in years, but the 2-11 Panthers fell to Western Kentucky (11-2 this year, 41-7 the last two years) 71-69 at FIU Arena on Jan. 8, 2016.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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