Wisconsin announced Thursday afternoon that head strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland had resigned his position.
According to the school, Helland used a racial epithet while recounting a story from his days working in the NBA.
“UW Athletics administration was informed last weekend that Helland, while recounting a story from earlier in his NBA career, had used a racial epithet in the presence of multiple Wisconsin men’s basketball student-athletes. UW Athletics confirmed that assertion on Sunday. UW Athletics works to promote a safe and welcoming environment for its student-athletes and staff and the aforementioned language used does not align with the values of the athletic department, men’s basketball program or the university.”
Helland, who had been with Wisconsin since 2013 after spending 25 years working in the NBA, did not travel with the team to its game at Minnesota.
A report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday night stated the UW was looking into the use of a racial slur made to former Badgers guard Kobe King. In its statement on Thursday, Wisconsin said that wasn’t the case.
“Multiple public reports have indicated that UW Athletics has been investigating the alleged use of racially insensitive language directed at one student-athlete. That allegation is inaccurate. UW Athletics has no evidence — nor has it been alleged to the athletic department — that Helland directed racially insensitive language toward any member of the men’s basketball team.”
Wisconsin will host Ohio State on Sunday at the Kohl Center.