Basketball and the Bible: Ex-player on fired OU coach - New York News

Basketball and the Bible: Ex-player speaks out about fired OU coach

Posted: Updated:
Jenna Bachrouche Jenna Bachrouche
ROCHESTER, Mich. (WJBK) -

There is a mystery at Oakland University. Why did the president of the school retire on the same day a coach was fired? A brave basketball player may provide some answers.

She said the coach picked on her and humiliated her, not because she didn't know the playbook, but because she didn't know the Good Book.

"You got to pray to play," said Jenna Bachrouche. "I remember one of my teammates telling me that."

Bachrouche is an all-American girl, who just happens to be a Muslim.

"She said, 'Hi, we're Oakland University woman's basketball team. We're a Christian basketball team,'" Bachrouche said.

The she was Bachrouche's coach, Beckie Francis.

Oakland University is not a Christian school. It is a state school, a public university.

Bachrouche just wanted to play college hoops, but found herself jumping through uncomfortable hoops to please the Christian coach.

"The beginning, I felt insecure about myself and my religion," Bachrouche said.

She explained church was highly suggested on road trips. Bible readings were mandatory, and if Bachrouche wanted to complain, there was one big problem.

"She's married to the president. What am I going to do, a freshman, a sophomore basketball player," Bachrouche said.

After two seasons, Bachrouche left Oakland University and transferred to Western Michigan University, and it is only now that she feels safe to speak up, safe because of what happened a few weeks ago.

"Very short notice we got informed that the president of the university, Gary Russi, resigned. He retired, and then literally about an hour later, his wife, Beckie Francis, coach of the women's basketball team, she was relieved of her duties," said
Scott Wolchek, editor of The Oakland Post, the school newspaper.

So the coach was canned, the president resigned and the school is being tightlipped. While they are saying Coach Francis was fired for malfeasance, whatever that means, Bachrouche is just relieved that her ex-teammates don't have to make a choice between the Bible or the basketball.

"I'm hoping this will kind of bring to light exactly the kind of things that she did whether that was the reason she got fired or not," Bachrouche said.

Oakland University released a statement that said, "At the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, a woman's basketball student athlete requested a transfer release from Oakland University. ... At the time, she raised issues of non-secular conduct and behavior on the part of the women's basketball head coach. The Athletics Department ... immediately commended an internal review that resulted in appropriate corrective action being taken."

Bachrouche does not believe that student was her, and indeed, several other team members have left in the last year.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Funeral for man who died after NYPD choke hold arrest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:46:09 GMT
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
    An overflow crowd packed a church on Wednesday night for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent choke hold. Eric Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing. A preacher opened the service at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley.
  • Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Another video shows NYPD cop putting man in choke hold

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-07-24 02:08:13 GMT
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
    The NYPD is investigating another apparent choke-hold incident during a recent arrest that was captured on video. The video shows a police officer putting a man in a choke hold and then punching him in the face in a subway station in Harlem, police said. A community activist said he received the new video but never had any intention of releasing it to the media.
  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices