Texas Tech basketball coach Mark Adams suspended over “racially insensitive” comment

Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Mark Adams reacts after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock on Feb. 25, 2023. He was suspended for what the school is calling an inappropriate, unacceptable, and racially insensitive comment. (Michael C. Johnson-Usa Today Sports Via Reuters, Michael C. Johnson-Usa Today Sports Via Reuters)

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Texas Tech University has suspended mens’ basketball coach Mark Adams for what the school is calling an “inappropriate, unacceptable, and racially insensitive” comment.

At a coaching session with a student athlete last week, Adams referenced Bible verses about workers, teachers, parents and enslaved people serving their masters, according to school officials.

Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt issued a written reprimand and then followed with a decision to suspend Adams “to conduct a more thorough inquiry of Adams’ interactions with his players and staff.” Adams has spoken with the team about the comment, according to school officials.

Adams defended his interaction with the student athlete in an interview with Stadium, a sports news network, saying it was not racist and that he was quoting a Bible verse.

“I said that in the Bible that Jesus talks about how we all have bosses, and we all are servants,” Adams told Stadium.

The Tech Tech basketball coach is also being investigated for allegedly spitting on a player during a game earlier in the season.

Adams is in his second season as head coach at Texas Tech after taking over when Chris Beard left for the University of Texas at Austin in 2021. Beard was fired by UT earlier this year after he was charged with a third-degree felony for family violence.

After last season’s success, he signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract that runs through the 2026-27 season. If Texas Tech were to fire Adams without cause, the school would owe him 60% of the remaining contract, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.

Adams’ suspension comes as Texas universities are reviewing their diversity, equity and inclusion practices in response to a warning from Gov. Greg Abbott. In a memo to public university leaders, Abbott said considering diversity in hiring violated federal and state employment laws, and that hiring should be based on merit alone. Texas Tech is reconsidering its use of DEI evaluation rubrics, in particular, after facing backlash from a conservative education advocacy group.

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