A former star basketball player is now suing Central Michigan University, claiming the school’s basketball coach benched her and revoked her scholarship because she wore too much make-up and was not a lesbian.
Brooke Heike has filed a federal lawsuit against the college and its women’s basketball coach, Sue Guevara, alleging discrimination by Guevara caused her emotional distress, physical injury and eventual loss of her athletic scholarship.
According to the Detroit News, Heike claims, “Throughout the 2007-08 season, defendant Guevara continued to subject plaintiff to unwelcome harassment and discrimination because of plaintiff’s heterosexual preference and refusal to abandon her heterosexual preference and adopt a homosexual preference.”
The paper says Heike, a 6-foot-2 forward, helped take Romeo High School to its league championship in her senior year after joining a team that went 1-17 when she was a freshman. She was named most valuable player and was recruited by the University of Michigan and other schools before accepting a scholarship from CMU.
The lawsuit claims that while Guevara was head coach at U-M, certain players who left the team cited Guevara’s invasion of their personal lives, “such as being upset because they wore make-up or tight clothing or otherwise acted in a feminine way.”
“CMU is familiar with the allegations, which are being made without merit,” university spokesman Steve Smith told the Detroit News. “CMU will vigorously defend its position in court.”
According to the Associated Press, Coach Guevara told an appeals committee last June, “I didn’t feel that she (Heike) did anything to improve herself after being told over and over what she needed to do.”
Heike reportedly played in 11 games as a freshman but only six in her sophomore season under Guevara.
“I had faith in CMU. I liked CMU. I wanted to give it everything I could,” Heike told Guevara during the meeting on her appeal. “I wasn’t going to give up. You gave up on me.”
Heike has been attending community college since leaving campus, her lawyer, Cindy Rhodes Victor, told AP.
“She was so traumatized by the experience,” Victor said.
Also named as defendants are Central Michigan University athletic director Dave Heeke, scholarship official Patricia Pickler and the university’s board of trustees.
The suit seeks a jury trial and an unspecified cash award.
The case is already making waves across the Internet. One letter sent to the Washington Post says:
“You are a hero, Brooke. We all know what she is. Doesn’t the coach realize that homosexuality is really just a distorted sense of power? Power to dominate subconsciously. She wants to be the alpha female which she expresses sexually. It’s not love but power she seeks. If rape were legal she would most likely be a rapist. They both come from the same place in the brain. It’s all about power expressed sexually.”