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Leslie, USC Players Threaten to Transfer Over Coach Issue

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The USC women’s basketball program, expected to be one the nation’s best this season, got a jolt Monday when almost every player--including senior captain Lisa Leslie--said they might transfer because of the plight of their coach, Marianne Stanley.

In denouncing a decision to let Stanley go because of a contract dispute, the 14 players said on the first day of the fall semester that they are disturbed USC officials showed little concern for them.

A federal judge last week denied Stanley a request to be reinstated while her sex discrimination suit against USC and Athletic Director Mike Garrett is settled in court. Garrett said last week he would hire a new coach within a week, but was unavailable for comment Monday.

James M. Dennis, vice president of student affairs, declined to comment about the players’ threat to leave, saying it was an athletic issue.

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Stanley, who helped reverse USC’s fortunes in four seasons as coach, asked to be paid a salary similar to that of men’s coach George Raveling. Her contract expired in June.

The players, who also are considering legal options, said they are the forgotten victims of the dispute.

“I take this seriously,” said Cindy Page, a freshman from South Eugene, Ore. “This is my life, not just something to do to (get) good exercise.”

Asked Jody Anton, a sophomore guard/forward from Brea: “We’re supposed to function in school right now? I don’t think so.”

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Jualeah Woods, a senior forward from Berkeley, said losing Stanley hurts emotionally and physically. Leslie said last week that she would not transfer, but changed her decision.


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