CHICAGO (CBS) — Several members of the Loyola University volleyball team say they were cut from the program as retaliation after they protested a coach.

“It’s just really upsetting to spend so much time doing something and then get it taken from you,” junior Arija Inveiss says.

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The cuts left the team with just six players, yet two of the athletes say they heard they had to go because of too much depth in their positions.

“The reason I was given was I lacked self-discipline and that my locker was too messy,” sophomore Emma Headley tells CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman.

Some of the ex-members of the team played when the team boycotted a practice in 2010. They say they sat it out because they weren’t being coached.

That led to a leadership change and, they believe, to their situation now.

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Loyola’s athletic department released a statement saying the cuts, though unfortunate, were handled “in a fair and ethical manner, consistent with policies and procedures.”

Freshman Kathleen Omelina says she passed up other opportunities to play at Loyola on a yearly renewable scholarship.

“Loyola promised they had my back,” she says. “I can’t afford to stay there. I don’t have the means.”

The women say the way things were handled is not consistent with the Jesuit tradition at the school they love.

Their message to future college athletes: Know this can happen, and if you’re on scholarship, have a backup plan.

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An NCAA spokesperson says the number of cuts at one time from this team was unusual.