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Billy Gillispie, Texas Tech Coach, On Sick Leave Amidst Investigation

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Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Waco, Texas.
Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in Waco, Texas.

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie is on indefinite sick leave while his bosses investigate allegations that he mistreated his players during practices.

Athletics department spokesman Blayne Beal said Monday that Gillispie is taking sick days and it was not clear how long he will be out. The Texas native who is entering his second year as coach of the Red Raiders did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The school announced Aug. 31 that it had opened an investigation into alleged mistreatment of players by Gillispie. Earlier that day and hours before he was to meet with athletic director Kirby Hocutt, Gillispie called 911 and was taken to a Lubbock hospital. He told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal he thought he was having a heart attack or a stroke. He released after six days in the hospital.

Last Wednesday, Hocutt said players met with him to discuss how they were being treated by Gillispie.

"If these allegations are proven to be true then I will be extremely upset and disappointed and will handle accordingly," Hocutt said then. He declined to say whether that could include Gillispie being fired and said he was "very troubled" by the information players had given him.

Hocutt last week announced that the school had reprimanded Gillispie in January for exceeding practice-time limits the previous fall. The letter included language that there would be "no tolerance for disregard of rules," Hocutt told The Associated Press.

The school penalized itself for the overage, docking twice the number of hours that Gillispie had exceeded during a two-week period in October or 12 hours and 20 minutes. An unidentified assistant coach was also reprimanded.

The NCAA allows 20 hours of practice per week.

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