Erik Helland, director of strength and conditioning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, resigned his position Thursday afternoon. Helland had been the strength and conditioning coach for the Wisconsin men’s basketball program since 2013.
UW Athletics administration was informed last weekend that Helland, while recounting a story from earlier in his NBA career, had used a racial epithet in the presence of multiple Wisconsin men’s basketball student-athletes. UW Athletics confirmed that assertion on Sunday. UW Athletics works to promote a safe and welcoming environment for its student-athletes and staff and the aforementioned language used does not align with the values of the athletic department, men’s basketball program or the university.
Helland was placed on administrative leave on Monday and did not travel with the Badger men’s basketball team to Minnesota for the team’s game Wednesday.
Multiple public reports have indicated that UW Athletics has been investigating the alleged use of racially insensitive language directed at one student-athlete. That allegation is inaccurate. UW Athletics has no evidence -- nor has it been alleged to the athletic department -- that Helland directed racially insensitive language toward any member of the men’s basketball team.
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