PFW's Niecee Nelson under fire after allegations of abuse come to light

Former Purdue Fort Wayne women's basketball players and staff are speaking out against head coach Niecee Nelson.

Posted: Jan 20, 2021 11:16 PM
Updated: Jan 21, 2021 7:12 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Former Purdue University Fort Wayne women's basketball players and staff are speaking out against current head coach Niecee Nelson.

An article published by The Indianapolis Star Wednesday morning reveals multiple allegations of bullying and abuse. Some of the accusations include mocking players for depression, forcing players to play through injuries, and withholding food as punishment.

Former Purdue University Fort Wayne women's basketball players and staff are speaking out against current head coach Niecee Nelson amid abuse allegations published in an Indianapolis Star article on Jan. 20, 2021.

"You have a woman who's abusing and bullying kids, and no repercussions were ever held to her. It still makes me very angry to this day, but it's just crazy to think someone can get away with stuff like that."

Jazzy Hughes says she won't stay silent any longer.

"I think we all kind of realized, like, enough is enough," Hughes said. "Something needs to happen for this to be known."

Hughes is just one of several players and staff members who are now speaking out against their former head coach.

The story written by the Indy Star centers around a 71-page letter that was sent to Purdue Fort Wayne administrators in May of 2020.

On Wednesday, FOX 55 obtained a copy of that document, which details numerous instances of abuse and misconduct during Nelson's tenure.

"She would give us, me and my roommate, extra cardio workouts to do after practice as punishment," Hughes said. "But it was only for us two, because she said we were the ones with weight issues and we were the ones always out of shape."

"Just being made to play on injuries when I was injured.. it wasn't a 'are you okay? what do you need?' It was more of a 'you need to suck it up and you can play," De'Jour Young, who played for Nelson for three seasons, told FOX 55. 

Nelson was briefly placed on administrative leave in February of 2019 while Purdue Fort Wayne investigated allegations of abuse, but the university determined those accusations were "unfounded." She returned to work just nine days later.

PFW doubled down on its position that Nelson did nothing wrong, saying in a statement, "Coach Nelson is very aware of the concerns raised by some of her students and has worked closely with athletics leadership to maintain a positive team environment and encourage clear lines of communication over the past 23 months."

But many of the players who participated in that investigation say it wasn't conducted fairly, and they believe the university needs to take another look.

"Maybe this time, somebody will actually hear us," Young said. "Maybe this time someone will turn and listen to what's going on, and not just sweep it under the rug like the first time it happened."

Nelson released a statement to the Indianapolis Star denying all allegations.

We attempted to reach out to her through the school but haven't heard back.

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