Editor's note: This story was updated to include quotes from WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard from her interview with the Western Herald in April.
Former Western Michigan guard Michael Flowers took to Twitter to express his frustration with how the WMU athletic department handled his decision to enter the transfer portal this year.
Flowers decided to enter the transfer portal after the university parted ways with former head coach Steve Hawkins, who had been the WMU men’s basketball head coach for 17 years. Flowers referred to Hawkins as “my head coach” in his Twitter post.
My Truth. pic.twitter.com/Be2tcULMNe— Michael Flowers (@__TAKEFLIGHT) September 7, 2020
Flowers went on to say that Western Michigan gave away his scholarship without informing him before he had made his decision to transfer. Flowers said he then had “no choice” but to go to another school for his senior season.
In the 2019-20 season, Flowers led the team in scoring at 17 points per game. He also led the team in assists with 104 on the year while no other player had more than 53 (Rafael Cruz Jr.). He paced the Broncos in three point field goals (68) and free throws (130) as well.
Forward Brandon Johnson, who finished second on the team in scoring (15.4 points per game) and led the team in rebounds (8.1 per game) and blocks (31), also transferred away from WMU this summer, announcing his decision to go to Minnesota quickly after entering the transfer portal.
In an interview with the Western Herald in April, athletic director Kathy Beauregard spoke about both players' decisions to enter the transfer portal.
"I'm not a fan of the NCAA (transfer) portal, even though I am a fan of-- I understand why we have it. Coaches can leave for better jobs, make more money, ADs can leave for better jobs and make more money, and the athletes were held accountable to not be able to do that," Beauregard said. "So this is a way that opens up that door, I don't believe that the athletes totally understand, necessarily, the circumstances."
Beauregard went on to talk more specifically about Flowers and Johnson.
"We had active, illegal recruiting going on over the last three weeks to our student-athletes, and I will also come out and tell you that the expectation of us not having Michael (Flowers) and Brandon (Johnson) were very real anyway, whether it was with coach Hawkins or with (new men's basketball head) coach (Clayton) Bates," Beauregard said. "We want the best for them (Flowers and Johnson), I mean we truly do, they need to know that once they enter that transfer (portal), your current institution doesn't have to bring you back and doesn't have any accountability for you anymore."
WMU also, according to Flowers, was inconsistent and unprofessional in communicating with other schools as they inquired about him while he was in the transfer portal, which he says caused some schools to lose interest. Flowers ultimately decided to transfer to South Alabama, Hawkins’ alma mater.
The grief from WMU’s athletic department didn’t end there. “(B)ad communication and lies” from WMU athletics caused Flowers to lose his waiver for immediate eligibility, he says.
Flowers concludes by saying that he never meant to make WMU look bad, but the circumstances around the situation forced him to feel the need to speak out, in part to help other student-athletes to be aware of the tribulations one can face while in college.