Cleveland State's Termination Letter to Men's Basketball Coach Dennis Felton Last Year Includes All Sorts of Nasty Allegations


  • Cleveland State University

Horizon League reporter Bob McDonald recently discovered that former Cleveland State University men's basketball coach Dennis Felton has sued the school over his dismissal last year.

The wrongful termination lawsuit itself isn't very interesting, but the university's termination letter to Felton, included as an exhibit in CSU's response, is.

This being Cleveland State basketball, and the Vikings being what they've been in recent memory, it's not entirely surprising that there wasn't a whole lot of local reporting on Felton's firing. Sure, he sucked, the team sucked. Terry Pluto had a little information in a July 2019 column, including that players objected to Felton's conditioning programs, that academic performance had lagged during his tenure, and that Felton couldn't seem to stop talented players from transferring.

The termination letter (below) lays out those claims, but it includes so much more. In it, CSU Athletic Director Scott Garrett alleged:

- That Felton mishandled or failed to report to the Office of Institutional Equity a possible instance of dating violence by a member of the team.

- That Felton hired to assistant coaches with previous discipline issues by the NCAA. One of those assistants, while at CSU, asked a player for $25,000.

- That despite ongoing issues with academic performance, Felton sought commitments from players who were not academically eligible.

- That Felton failed to initially report to CSU an incident where student athletes were pulled over by the Ohio Highway Patrol, who found drugs in the vehicle, and that Felton's eventual report to the university was inaccurate.

- That Felton went on vacation without notifying the Athletic Director or completing paperwork to document his use of vacation time.

In his lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, Felton says those claims are inaccurate and made only so that CSU might avoid forking over money for the three remaining years of his contract.

In its answer, the university stood by its decision to fire Felton for cause and attached the termination letter as evidence.

Felton is now an assistant coach at Fordham.

See related PDF Dennis-Felton-Termination-Letter.pdf

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.