Former UNCW women's bball player says leaving program wasn't her idea

Source: UNCW
Source: UNCW

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The UNCW women's basketball program ended its relationship with three players this week, but it's not clear who started that process.

A statement from the department earlier this week indicated Jessica Cohen, Mya Levels and Aesha Peters had all asked for and had been granted their release from the UNCW women's basketball program.  Thursday, Cohen told WECT that was not the case.

"I would like say that I DID NOT ask for my release and DID NOT want to leave UNCW. I love the school and the people that I have spent the last 3 years growing and learning with. As a rising senior I looked forward to finishing that chapter of my life with the people I came in with as freshmen. I wanted to stay and continue to me a member of the WBB team. In no way was this my decision," Jessica Cohen said to WECT.com in an email.

Cohen also forwarded us the letter she wrote this week to Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and the rest of the coaching staff.  The verbatim follows:

Coach Cooper and Coaching Staff,

Let me start by saying that it has been a wonderful experience being a part of your Basketball Program as well as under you guidance. I realize that most players in my position would make any sacrifice to be a part of your program and I am no different. This is why I was disappointed when you told me you were releasing me from the program. I understand that you have a responsibility to do what is best for the girls and the Program at UNCW, which is why I'm writing this email. Coach I feel like I'm a good person, a good student and a good athlete and that I could bring value to another team. I'm asking for you assistance in this transition to another program, preferably one in the Charleston are. Thank You.

Jessica

Of the three, Levels was the only player who averaged double digits in minutes on the court.

We contacted UNCW to get reaction today to this development.  A representative had no comment other than to say they were standing by the original release.

With their departure, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke will have seven returning players for the upcoming season and six incoming freshman which would leave the team with two open scholarships.

Copyright 2011 WECT.  All rights reserved.