If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit ...
Cooper to transfer amid contradictory statements on suspension
Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 00:11
One day after announcing that Shayla Cooper, the highly touted women’s basketball recruit and Big East preseason rookie of the year who threw her shoe in the season opener against Richmond, would be suspended
indefinitely from the team, the Sports Information Office said Cooper would be transferring to a different university.
“Cooper’s status as a member of the Georgetown women’s basketball team was incorrectly communicated on Sunday. She was not suspended. She informed the university of her intent to transfer on Saturday evening prior to Sunday’s game against Cal. She leaves the team in good standing,” the statement from Sports Information Director Barbara Barnes reads.
The freshman forward’s unconventional move in the Nov. 8 Richmond game — she tossed her shoe in the air in an attempt to block a shot by the opposing team — made headlines around the country last week. The incident was picked up by national media, including ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter, which featured the play as the No. 1 play on its segment of the “Not Top-10” plays of the week.
Shoe-throwing is not explicitly addressed in the NCAA rulebook, but Cooper could have earned a technical foul for the move under the unsportsmanlike conduct regulations as per the NCAA. The play went unnoticed by the referees, and despite a plea by Richmond Head Coach Michael Shafer, Cooper was not assessed a technical foul.
On Friday, Cooper took to Twitter to retweet numerous people who mentioned and joked about her appearance on the Not Top-10 reel. Cooper’s account, which was public over the weekend, is now set to private.
First-year Head Coach Jim Lewis, who replaced Keith Brown two weeks before the start of the season after Brown resigned amid a verbal abuse scandal, would not comment on the play after the game. Cooper, however, started in the Hoyas’ next game against South Dakota State on Friday. On Sunday, before the Hoyas were scheduled to play their third game, Barnes told The Hoya that Cooper had been suspended, which Lewis confirmed after the game.
Both Lewis and the Sports Information Office were tight-lipped about the situation.
“Shayla Cooper is suspended indefinitely due to detrimental conduct in violation of team rules,” Barnes said before Sunday’s game against Cal.
The statement released Monday afternoon revised this information, but Barnes declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the initial announcement about Cooper’s suspension, excpet to say that Cooper had not been suspended.
The shoe toss had little bearing on the outcome of the Hoyas’ 82-78 win over the Spiders, but Cooper’s decision to transfer could have significant bearing on the team’s chances moving forward this season.
In the first two games of her collegiate career, Cooper averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds, and against South Dakota State, she put up her first career double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
With her decision to transfer, the Blue and Gray’s revolving door of personnel continues to spin, and the Hoyas are now faced with replacing a natural scorer who had already established herself as a force on the court.
The statement did not specify where or when Cooper is transferring. Cooper did not respond to requests for comment at press time.
Staff writer Carolyn Maguire contributed to this