Updates arrive on Joseph, LaBarrie situations

Photo courtesy of Danny Karnik

Tech athletics have made plenty of headlines in the past few months — not always for good reasons. The results of two investigations into Tech athletics were released last month, one regarding recent NCAA violations and the other regarding Tech’s findings about coach MaChelle Joseph. Here’s what the NCAA investigation found as well as additional allegations that have emerged in light of Joseph’s firing.

Labarrie and Carter Jr.

The NCAA informed Tech earlier last month that it had found multiple violations in its men’s basketball program. Some of the violations stemmed from head coach Josh Pastner’s long-standing legal feud with his former friend, Ron Bell, but two of the violations were regarding former assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie, who left the program last year following an NCAA investigation.

The NCAA alleges that LaBarrie took a top high school recruit on an official visit at Tech to an Atlanta strip club, where a representative of Tech athletics gave both the recruit and a Tech player who had served as the recruit’s host $300 for use at the strip club. It was later revealed that the recruit in question was one of the top prospects in the country, current NBA rookie and Chicago Bull Wendell Carter, Jr. 

Carter, Jr. wasn’t the only big name involved in the violation — Tech Hall of Famer Jarret Jack was reportedly the representative of Tech athletics who funded the visit to the strip club. The player who allegedly accompanied Carter Jr., Justin Moore, is also no stranger to Tech fans; Moore saw limited minutes with the Jackets from 2016-2018 before transferring out after LaBarrie’s departure.

The NCAA further alleged that during its investigation of LaBarrie, LaBarrie attempted to cover up his involvement in the violation, lying to NCAA investigators and coercing Moore to do the same. According to the NCAA, both violations constituted Level I violations, the most severe level of NCAA violations. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week, LaBarrie admitted that he had taken the players to the strip club and that he lied to the NCAA. However, he denied any knowledge of the money given to Carter Jr. or Moore, and further denied that he had coerced Moore to lie to investigators. The latter was one of the most serious charges levied against LaBarrie, particularly compared to the relatively meager amounts allegedly spent on Carter, Jr.’s recruiting visit. Since then, LaBarrie has apparently taken to private coaching, and even sought work as an NBA scout, courtesy of AJC.com.

Joseph and harrassment

The fallout from MaChelle Joseph’s messy break-up with Tech athletics has continued, with further allegations brought up from former student athletes in addition to messages of support for the coach from her old players. A bombshell accusation dropped earlier this month, however, as former Jacket Niesha Butler accused Joseph of sexual harassment in addition to emotional and physical abuse. 

In a statement released to CBS46.com, Butler claimed that Joseph had harassed and abused her in her time as a student athlete. In one incident, Butler says, Joseph invited Butler into her room during a road-trip and began touching Butler’s thigh and buttocks in a manner that Butler described as “inappropriate”. However, upon rebuffing Joseph’s advances, Butler was told by Joseph that her “career was over, and that [she] would never play basketball at Georgia Tech again.” Butler would leave the program in January 2002.

 In a statement from Joseph’s attorney, Joseph denied the allegations of sexual harassment. Joseph also previously denied similar allegations, claiming that the complaints against her are instead a part of a campaign of harassment in return for her fight against sexism within the Georgia Tech Athletic Association.