MANAGING SPORTS EDITOR
A few months into the 2016-2017 season, Delaware women’s basketball starter and third-leading scorer Sadé Chatman decided she wanted to transfer schools.
Chatman, a second-year Delaware player who transferred from Clemson after the 2013-2014 season, met with Lauren Hunt, Delaware’s assistant athletic director (AD) for compliance, and completed her transfer paperwork. The junior was then granted her release, but was surprised to find out that she had also been suspended.
“The University of Delaware announced Thursday that women’s basketball junior Sadé Chatman has been suspended from the team, effective immediately,” a press release published on Feb. 16 said. “There will be no further comment on the situation from university personnel or student-athletes.”
The two-year starter under former head coach Tina Martin had been averaging 9.6 points per game with a .441 field goal percentage. According to Chatman, she noticed this press release soon after it was published and then reached out to Rick Stumpf, Delaware’s associate AD for compliance.
“I was confused because I’m like ‘I’m not suspended, I clearly asked for my release because I didn’t want to be part of the program anymore,’” Chatman said. “I wanted [Stumpf] to clarify why it was put out –– it looks so bad that I’m suspended and really that was not the case at all. I wanted to transfer somewhere else.”
In an email to Chatman, Stumpf referenced the UD Transfer Release Policy.
The policy states that “Outgoing University of Delaware student-athletes who have submitted a written permission to contact and/or transfer release request but who are still enrolled at University of Delaware (e.g., student-athlete requests permission to contact other schools in February but remains enrolled through spring term) are subject to restrictions on the use of Elective Athletic Resources.”
“Elective Athletic Resources” include all resources available to university of Delaware student-athletes with the exception of academic support services and sports medicine services.
“The use of elective athletic resources by a student-athlete is immediately suspended upon receipt of a written permission to contact and/or a transfer release request,” the policy says.
“I just wanted to clear up the fact that I knowingly chose to ask for my release to transfer to a different program,” Chatman said. “I wasn’t forced out or kicked off or anything. It wasn’t a punishment or anything like that. I chose on my own to leave on my own. To this day I don’t understand why it hasn’t been cleared up with the media. And I hate the bad rep that comes with people assuming I was suspended.”
The athletic department did not respond to emails from The Review in regards to this matter.
The Transfer Release Policy indicates that student-athletes in Chatman’s situation –– requesting release from their respective programs during a time in which they are still enrolled at the University of Delaware –– are subject to suspension of elective athletic resources.
In March, men’s basketball guard/forward Chivarsky Corbett requested release from the men’s basketball program. Corbett –– like Chatman, remained a student at the University of Delaware following his request for release, but unlike Chatman –– was not suspended.
“Chivarsky did his after [the season], so I guess that’s why it’s different, but I think just because mine was in the middle of the season, that’s just how they worded it because technically once they do that, I am immediately suspended and that’s really all they had to go with, so I don’t know if that’s why, they never really told me why,” Chatman said.
Delaware Athletics has yet to release any public information on Corbett’s situation. Chatman is not listed on the women’s teams’ 2017-2018 roster on Bluehens.com, while the men’s team does not have a 2017-2018 roster listed on the site.
Chatman said that after she asked for her release, she remained in communication with her teammates, but not with Martin. She acknowledged that she was aware of meetings –– those described by the News Journal –– between current players and Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak in regards to concerns with Martin’s coaching style, but did not participate in them.
Martin, who failed to reach the CAA tournament semifinals this season for the first time since 2009, retired from Delaware on April 28, and was hired as an assistant at CAA rival UNCW 18 days later. Rawak hired former Georgetown coach Natasha Adair on May 14 as Martin’s successor.
Adair takes over a program that brings in three freshman; Erin Antosh, Lizzie O’Leary and Kate Cain, while losing Chatman and seniors Erika Brown and Hannah Jardine. Gadson Lefft and Alison Lewis will be eligible to play after sitting out this past season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Leading her team to two trips to the WNIT tournament in three years at Georgetown, the 44-year-old is the seventh head coach hired by Rawak in her first full year as athletic director.
After receiving her undergraduate diploma from the University of Delaware on May 27, Chatman now turns her attention toward choosing a graduate school. She plans to continue to play basketball with her final year of eligibility.
“I will be pursuing a master’s degree in public administration,” Chatman said. “I haven’t chosen a school yet, but I have looked. Once I’m sure, I’ll probably make a statement somewhere on Facebook or Instagram or something like that.”