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Badgers men’s basketball strength coach resigns, used ‘racial epithet’ in front of student-athletes

MADISON — Erik Helland, director of strength and conditioning at UW-Madison, resigned Thursday, Feb. 6 after the athletic department was informed that he used a racial epithet in front of multiple student-athletes.

Helland had been the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s basketball program since 2013. He was placed on administrative leave Monday, Feb. 3 and did not travel with the team for its Wednesday road game.

Wisconsin Athletics issued the following statements on the situation:

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 (Feb. 2). 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.

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.

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