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Wisconsin-Green Bay's Brian Wardle will remain coach after investigation

Conflicting information regarding allegations of mistreatment against Wisconsin-Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle has allowed him to keep his job.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Wardle will remain Wisconsin-Green Bay's head basketball coach following claims he mistreated several players, the school announced on Friday via Myron Medcalf and Andy Katz of ESPN.

University chancellor Tom Harden announced the decision based on the findings of a 39-page report assembled by attorney Joseph Nicks. The investigation concluded that the facts regarding Wardle's alleged use of inappropriate language toward former walk-on Ryan Bross, senior big man Brennan Cougill and others are "unclear." The report also stated that Cougill, who accused Wardle of verbal abuse, was "not treated unfairly."

In a letter submitted to the school by his family, Bross stated that, despite his pleas to stop a drill because he was feeling ill, Wardle refused, resulting in Bross defecating on himself. The freshman center also accused Wardle of verbal abuse, including instances of homophobic language and the suggestion that Bross should have sex with a woman to help his play on the court.

The process was difficult for Wardle, the third-year head coach told on Friday.

"I swore I would cooperate with the investigation, be quiet and let the process play out. I sat there knowing the truth would come out one day and felt confident in the person and coach that I am. I'm a demanding head coach, not demeaning. I'm demanding, not demeaning."

Wardle released a statement saying the accusations were proven "false" according to ESPN, but Nicks did not use the same terminology.

"The facts about the accusations against Wardle are by no means certain."

While Wardle will keep his job, Harden stressed the school's disagreement with the way the coach conducted some of his business.

"We do not accept this sort of treatment or language in the classroom, and we should not accept it on the court or in the locker room. This report sheds light on improvements we can, and will, make as an athletics department and as a university."

Wardle, who has guided the Phoenix to a 47-48 record across three seasons, expressed gratitude for the school allowing him to remain the head coach.

"I want to stress that I am grateful for the opportunity to represent this university and will continue to build a program of which it can be proud. As a head coach it is my responsibility to care for our student athletes as if they were my own children. Their personal development is very important to me."

Wardle's case was one of two high-profile cases of alleged abuse among college basketball coaches. In April, Rutgers dismissed head coach Mike Rice for verbally and physically abusing players, as shown on a video released to ESPN by ex-Rutgers assistant Eric Murdock.