Women’s basketball coach J.D. Gustin receives two-game suspension after investigation closes

J.D. Gustin stands on the sideline shouting at his team during the Utah Tech vs. Jacksonville State women’s basketball game Nov. 9. The recent investigation against Gustin concluded with a two-game suspension. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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Utah Tech University’s women’s basketball coach has been suspended for two games after an investigation into alleged misconduct by players. 

Information was first released Sept. 12 that J.D. Gustin was under investigation for bullying, physical intimidation and retaliation. Then, it was announced Nov. 22 that Gustin would continue business as usual after his two-game suspension.

After it was announced that the investigation had concluded, Hall said: “Utah Tech University has received the summary findings of the third-party investigation looking into the allegations against Coach J.D. Gustin, and it has been determined that he will continue to serve as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. The University is in the process of addressing the findings from the summary and using those findings to improve our women’s basketball program moving forward.”

The third-party investigation Hall mentioned is a Boise-based human relations consulting firm called BestDay HR

When The Salt Lake Tribune asked the university’s public relations department if there were any other components to Gustin’s suspension, Hall said the university doesn’t provide details concerning personnel matters. 

The Tribune also wrote that former players who spoke with them in previous months hoped the allegations against Gustin would be enough to get him fired. Two former players told The Tribune that Gustin pulled their scholarships and kicked them off the team after finding out they made complaints against him. 

Sun News reporters have reached out to former players for comment on their experience on the team, including Vegas Camacho, Talia Sireni, Averi Papa and Taylia Stimpson. Current women’s basketball player Maggie McCord reached out to Sun News through an Instagram story Sept. 14 about the investigation but refused to comment again when we reached out to her for an interview.

According to Utah Tech University Policy 322: Abusive Conduct, which includes complaints, hostile work environments, retaliation and workspaces, investigations that do not result in termination of employment result in administrative review by university HR or an external source. Policy 322 also explains the procedure parties will follow after the investigation.

Policy 322

Sun News has reached out to Utah Tech’s HR department regarding the process and conclusion of Gustin’s investigation, to which we received no replies. 

After reaching out to former and current players and the university’s public relations and human relations departments, it is still unclear what happened between Gustin and Utah Tech’s women’s basketball players and how the investigation was performed.

The two games before Gustin’s suspension resulted in two losses for the women’s basketball team. For the games Gustin was suspended for, the team won.

The women’s basketball team with play California Baptist University Dec. 6 at the Burns Arena at 7 p.m.

Additional reporting by Jenessa Walgren and Angel Wood.