Michael Wyke / Associated Press
The University of Cincinnati has reportedly suspended basketball coach John Brannen as part of an outside review of the program.
The Athletic’s Justin Williams on Saturday said the suspension will last until the review ends and the review is believed to be investigating whether Brannen should be released for cause.
Last week the University of Cincinnati issued a statement that it would “Begin a review of allegations related to his men’s basketball program.”
Cincinnati sports director John Cunningham added: “”The university has always put the well-being of its student athletes first. We believe this is an essential step in ensuring that all of our sports programs are of the highest standard. “
Williams In mid-March it was reported that there was a rift between Brannen and his players that led to this a “mass plan exodus” after the end of the Bearcats’ 2020-21 season. Six players have entered the transfer portal since the end of the season, and a total of seven players Brannen has recruited since 2019 have left the program.
It is unclear what exactly the outside company is investigating, however Jeremy Rauch of Fox19 in Cincinnati reported that Brannen and his staff had not violated NCAA rules.
Brannen, who headed Northern Kentucky from 2015 to 2019 and led the Northerners to two NCAA tournaments, took over the chief job at Cincinnati in 2019 when Mick Cronin moved to coach at UCLA.
The Bearcats made nine consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament under Cronin before Brannen took over in 2019, leading Cincy to a 20-10 record. There was no NCAA tournament this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cincinnati only went 12-11 that season and missed the tournament, but Brannen made it to the AAC Championship Game, where it lost to Houston, which subsequently made it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.
As the season progressed, the players took their problems with fires “sent straight to Cincinnati sports director John Cunningham for the past few days and weeks,” per Williams.
Williams reported that there is no schedule to complete the investigation and determine Brannen’s fate.