Darryl Jacobs joined Queens College’s men’s basketball team as head coach in 2013 and is no longer leading the program as of Feb. 25.
It was the players on the team that led for his ouster as they vowed to boycott the season’s final two games against Roberts Wesleyan and Daemen. Players even refused to practice.
Many players, preferring to remain anonymous, said Jacobs crossed the line several times.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the non-profit association in charging of all collegiate athletes program, provides rules for coaches to follow. One rule is that players cannot practice more than 20 hours per week. But Jacobs violated this rule, said the players.
“He [was] always violating the NCAA rules, by going over the practice hours and hadn’t given us a day off in 10 days,” one player said.
Other violations included placing players at physical harm.
“He held multiple practices when no athletic trainer [was] on duty, so we couldn’t get treatment after practice. If someone were to get injured, there is no one on duty to help them, which is an NCAA violation,” another player said.
Players also cited that the coaching staff changed every year since Jacobs became head coach.
“He has had a new coaching staff every year, and none of them got along with him. During this season alone, three players quit the team and, earlier in the season, one of the assistant coaches quit the team as well,” one anonymous player said.
“One of our assistant coaches quit because he got into an argument with Jacobs over leadership. He accused Jacobs of not being a good leader and also being lazy,” another player said.
Players organized meetings with Jacobs to resolve disputes, but the head coach threatened them.
“If anyone questioned him or said something he didn’t like, he threatened that he would ‘take away your scholarship,’” a player said.
Players became frustrated with Jacobs’ refusal to change. They came together to end it by talking to administrators. Several players said they brought their concerns to China Jude, assistant vice president of athletics, but were told to keep their mouths shut. One player voiced his concerns to President Felix Matos Rodriguez.
However, The New York Daily News reported on the incident after players sent their concerns there.
According to the Daily News, Adam Rockman, vice president for Student Affairs, told the team that Jacobs would no longer lead the basketball team. As a result, the players did not forfeit their last two games.
The hardest part for the players was losing their love for basketball, a game they grew up loving.
“The worst part is that a lot of us started to lose passion for the game and made us not want to play anymore,” one of the players said.
Assistant coach David Vandiver took over as interim head coach. The Knights won in their last two games, ending their season with an 11-14 record.
Players felt relieved the conflicts with Jacobs were over. Now they look forward to the next season.
“It’s great. I actually feel motivated to play basketball again,” a player said.