Cydnee Kinslow had one year left of NCAA legibility following her first graduate season with the Florida Gators in 2020-21. But the out forward opted to stop playing, rather than suit up for the team again.
In a recent interview with AllGators, Kinslow, who transferred to Florida from Long Beach State, outlines the harassment she faced from former head coach Cameron Newbauer, along with many of her teammates. A scathing report filled with verbal and emotional abuse allegations against Newbauer was released this fall, quoting several current and former players.
Kinslow told Florida’s student newspaper, The Alligator, an ex-player attempted suicide due to Newbauer’s abrasive actions.
Newbauer resigned in July, citing personal reasons. The Gators went 46-71 under him, the worst winning percentage for any head coach in program history over their first four years.
Kinslow’s first run-in with Newbauer happened when he picked her up from the airport following her transfer. During the car ride, Kinslow alleges Newbauer told her to cover up her tattoo, out of fear his daughters would copy her.
She says Newbauer’s behavior only got worst from there. Early in the season, Kinslow says Newbauer accused her of being in a same-sex relationship with one of her teammates, pulling up videos of their interactions on the court.
“[Newbauer] had actually called us into their office, sat us down in front of the entire staff, extended staff included, in the conference room with the TV behind us and started out the conversation saying, ‘I don’t know what you two were up to, but it’s unacceptable on my team and I will not have it here,’” Kinslow told AllGators.
There were two big problems with Newbauer’s accusation: Kinslow wasn’t dating her teammate, and besides, the teammate in question was straight.
Despite that evidence, Newbauer persisted, showing footage of the teammate patting Kinslow on the shoulder at the free throw line after inadvertently hitting her elbow.
Then he showed Kinslow and her teammate missing a high-five, only to try again.
“I actually laughed out loud,” Kinslow said. “I was like, ‘There is no way this is happening right now to me. At this age, at this time of my life, there’s no way.’”
Making matters worse, Kinslow says Newbauer knew about her trying experience at Long Beach as an out athlete. Yet, he still brought up her sexuality in front of the staff, chiding her for a non-existent relationship.
“It was actually very brutal for me, because I had experienced quite the backlash for my sexuality and how I identify myself and that stuff at my last school,” Kinslow said. “[Newbauer and his staff] understood that before I even got there and still chose to do this little incident with the two of us.”
In addition to homophobic remarks, players say Newbauer pelted players with racially tinged comments and constantly berated their efforts. When Kinslow suffered a concussion, she says Newbauer never checked in on her.
With a new season on the horizon, Florida is trying to move past the Newbauer era. But Kinslow says interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley witnessed the abuse, too.
While women’s basketball is rightfully viewed as inclusive, the sport has been rocked with coaching abuse scandals in recent years. WNBA star Britney Griner, for example, has accused former Baylor coach Kim Mulkey of telling her to stay in the closet.
Griner came forward, just like Kinslow. All of these scandals to light due to the courteous actions of affected athletes.
In this case, Kinslow may be done with basketball, but she’s not done telling her story.
If you are considering suicide, LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Adults can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day, and it’s available to people of all ages and identities. Trans or gender-nonconforming people can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.