MIAMI (CBSMiami) – FIU’s men’s basketball team is in shambles after Isiah Thomas was fired by the school as the head coach. Now, his former players want to play for another school and claimed FIU is refusing to release them from their scholarships.

Men’s basketball team members sent a note to FIU president Mark Rosenberg and other administrators asking for help to get a release and for an explanation of why Thomas was fired.

“We ask that under such circumstances with our mentor being fired you to give us the freedom of choice to ‘move in another direction,'” said the letter, which carried the signature “FIU men’s basketball team” and was e-mailed to Rosenberg and others by DeJuan Wright, who led the Panthers in scoring this past season. “Please help us receive our athletic ‘releases’ so that we can find a coach and program which will be a good fit in our growth.”

FIU hasn’t made any comment on the letter or why the school may be denying the players a release from their scholarships.

Thomas had secured commitments from four of Florida’s top 50 players for next season and thought 2012-2013 would be his breakthrough season.

Thomas was escorted out of the building by police not long after he was fired, a fact that stuck out with his former players.

“We also ask someone to look into why Coach Thomas and his staff had to be humiliated by being told they were fired and to pack their belongings immediately and with no explanation of what was going on in front of our team and other FIU staff members,” the letter said. “It was quite embarrassing for us to witness and hurtful, they deserved a better way to leave, it is already embarrassing being fired.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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