A Wisconsin athletic department staff member resigned Thursday after an investigation confirmed he used a racial slur, but the school denied his actions led to the transfer of guard Kobe King.
The school announced the resignation of Erik Helland, who was promoted to Wisconsin's director of strength and conditioning in 2015. He previously spent 25 years working in the NBA.
"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," a university statement said. "UW Athletics confirmed that assertion on Sunday. 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."
King announced on Instagram on Jan. 29 that he was leaving the team. He was the second-leading scorer for the Badgers.
"This has been a very tough decision for me, however after spending almost 3 years in the Wisconsin program I have realized that this program is not the right fit for me as a player and person," he wrote.
The school's statement said Helland did not direct the term toward King.
"Multiple public reports have indicated that UW Athletics has been investigating the alleged use of racially insensitive language directed at one student-athlete," the school said in a statement. "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."
King, who played La Crosse Central High School in Wisconsin, was a three-star signee in the Class of 2017. As a redshirt sophomore, he has two years of eligibility remaining.
He played in 19 games (all starts) for the Badgers this season, averaging 10.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
--Field Level Media