By Adam Roberts – 6/23/2021
It seems like every time I leave the building for a day, something big happens in our little sports world. Yesterday I was up in Rice Lake for the high school baseball sectionals, and of course some big Badger story would break while I was away.
In a 37 minute audio clipped sent to the Wisconsin State Journal from an anonymous source, senior members of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team are heard expressing their discontent with head coach Greg Gard on February 19th, in the middle of the team’s disappointing 2020-21 campaign that ended in a sixth place finish in the Big Ten.
In the clip, players like Brad Davison, Aleem Ford, Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter, and D’Mitrick Trice can be heard saying there is a “disconnect” between them and their head coach. The conversation, which reportedly lasted two hours, also included mentions to the previous season, which included the car crash involving assistant Howard Moore which killed two of his family members, Kobe King departing the program, and the resignation of strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland.
Themes that came up repeatedly in the conversation included Wisconsin not feeling like a home for the players, Gard’s actions speaking louder than words, and an overall lack of confidence in the program.
Once word of the meeting became public, Gard expressed both his support of the players opening up to him and also his frustration that a private meeting was leaked. Outgoing athletic director Barry Alvarez also expressed support for Coach Gard looking ahead to next year. Gard’s contract was extended by a year after the season, and he is scheduled to make $2.65 million in the 2021-22 school year.