Hunting lesbians at Southern Methodist

Spoiler alert: This post has nothing to do with college football. It has everything to do with the over-compensating head women's basketball coach at Southern Methodist University. The phrase "thou doth protest too much" came to mind when I read about Rhonda Rampola and allegations by former player Jennifer Colli, a lesbian, who says the coach went on the hunt to root out lesbians on the team. The result was Colli's lost scholarship, a $2 million lawsuit and a black eye for SMU the size of which it hasn't seen since that little football scandal in 1987.

Colli says Rampola pursued gay players and monitored their relationships.

While other universities worked to recruit her, Colli's sister had already played at SMU. She said she was ecstatic to join the SMU team with a basketball scholarship in 2005.

But her excitement soon turned to shock at the first team gathering, which was when she said Coach Rhonda Rampola said she would not tolerate relationships, referring to gay relationships, among her players.

“I was sitting around and looking and thinking, is this normal?" she said while recalling the meeting held in the locker room. "Is this what we talk about in team meetings?”

Colli, who says several members of the team were gay, alleges Rampola asked players about their relationships with each other.

"That's a choice,” she said. “If you want to do that or whoever, that's their choice. It's not the coach's choice to tell them who not to date.”

As the season advanced, Colli said she began keeping a diary of problems in the program, which included Rampola's continuous monitoring of players relationships.

Colli lost her scholarship in the fall of 2006 after airing her allegations to school officials. The school says her scholarship was taken away because she lied about the charges and violated school rules.

“She was retaliated against for bringing to the athletic director items which she says negatively affected the team,” said Mike Kelley, Colli's lawyer.

Watch a video piece from WFAA about the case.

Matt Hennie blogs on Atlanta's gay sports scene at Gaytlsports.com.

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