Former Washington State cornerback Zaire Webb is suing Washington State and Cougars head coach Mike Leach after not being allowed to be reinstated to the football program. Webb was dismissed by Leach from the program following an arrest last October but says he should have been allowed to return to the team after the charges were dropped. The report of the lawsuit was originally shared by Deadspin, along with the documents for the lawsuit.
At the time of Webb’s dismissal (wide receiver Anthony White Jr. was also given the boot for the same reason), Leach explained any violation of three simple rules in his program would result in an automatic removal from the program. Any player found guilty of violence against a woman, being connected to illegal drugs, or stealing gets removed from the program, according to Leach’s policy. But Webb feels he should have been welcomed back to the program after the charges against him were dropped. After he was removed from the football program, the university pulled Webb’s scholarship.
Webb is building his case on the accusation that Leach has been known to bend his own rules with regard to those three previously mentioned causes for automatic dismissal. Not every example outlined by Webb’s lawsuit ties directly to the three red lines Leach supposedly has drawn, but there is at least one example that supports Webb’s claim. The lawsuit claims wide receiver Grant Porter remained on the roster this spring despite a domestic-violence charge from last November, although Washington State has followed up to say Porter is indefinitely suspended.
Webb’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, in addition to reimbursement for legal fees and costs, and any other support the court deems warranted for Webb. There is no specific request to see Webb reinstated on scholarship at Washington State or within the football program.
Washington State and Leach have provided no comment on this lawsuit.
Helmet sticker to The Comeback.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer are among 16 remaining candidates for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club.
Saban is the only coach from the SEC listed as a semifinalist, and he has never won the award that was first presented in 1989 to Michigan’s Bo Schembechler. Gene Stallings is the only Alabama coach to win the award, doing so in 1992. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was the first SEC coach since 1998 (Tennessee’s Philip Fulmer) to win the award, in 2014.
Meyer and Mike Leach are the only semifinalists to previously win the award. Meyer won the award in 2004 at Utah and Leach took the award in 2008 with Texas Tech. Penn State’s James Franklin could become the third Penn State coach to win the award, joining Joe Paterno (1990, 2005) and Bill O’Brien (2012).
The remaining semifinalists for the award are Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Bobby Petrino (Louisville), Neal Brown (Troy), Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Scott Frost (UCF), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech), Chris Petersen (Washington), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan) and Paul Chryst (Wisconsin).
Finalists for the award will be announced on December 12 and a winner will be named on December 29. The winner will be presented with the award on March 10, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the annual Maxwell Football Club Awards Banquet.
Perhaps there is a changing of the guard going on in the Pac-12 North. After years of being dominated by Stanford and Oregon, the past two weeks of college football have not gone well for the Cardinal or the Ducks, with both Washington and Washington State flipping the division in their favor in blowout fashion.
Washington established themselves as the Pac-12 team to beat with dominant authority in the past two weeks. It started with a Friday night blowout of Stanford last week, 44-6, and continued Saturday night with a 70-21 romp at Oregon. Stanford had won nine of the previous 11 meetings between the two schools, and Oregon had been enjoying a wildly successful run of 12 straight wins against the Huskies. If Washington needed to prove they were a legitimate threat out of the Pac-12 by showing what they can do against Stanford and Oregon, then Chris Petersen and his pack of Huskies have passed that test with flying colors. Washington is the team to beat in the Pac-12, and there is no debating that.
Mike Leach continues to pull some tricks as well. Washington State is not to be overlooked just yet. The Cougars, like the Huskies, have also dominated both the Cardinal and Ducks to make some noise in the Pac-12 picture. Washington State had lost eight straight against Stanford, although that included a couple of close calls along the way, like last season’s 30-28 setback in Pullman. That streak came to an end last night as the Cougars racked up 42 points in a dominant 26-point victory in Palo Alto (42-16). That came a week after topping Oregon for a second straight season, which they certainly enjoyed.
Washington and Washington State have outscored Stanford and Oregon in head-to-head matchups 207-76. There has been no question which two teams are the class of the Pac-12 North this season. It is the two schools from Washington this season, which is somewhat odd to suggest given Washington State has been defeated by an FCS school and lost on the road at Boise State. But Washington and Washington State are already the only teams left without a loss in Pac-12 play this season.
There is still a bunch of football to play, but this year’s Apple Cup could be spicy.
The 2016 season has not been a very positive one for Washington State. Aside from losing at home to an FCS opponent and following that up with a road loss against Boise State, the Cougars have been in the headlines for off-field reasons as well, which is never a good look. This has led to the athletics director at Washington State to issue a brief statement.
“We are well aware of recent incidents involving Washington State football, including many details associated with each incident that have not been reported,” Washington state AD Bill Moos said in a released statement on Wednesday. “We take such allegations very seriously and, as always, we will fully cooperate with local authorities. We intend to respect the legal process and all the rights guaranteed to everyone involved. Until the full legal process has reached completion, WSU Athletics will have no further comment on these matters. We believe such a position is most fair to all parties and best protects the integrity of the legal process.”
The released statement comes the day after Washington State linebacker Logan Tago was arrested for second-degree assault and second-degree robbery. Over the summer, a couple six players were investigated for their role in a massive brawl, which was caught on video. On Wednesday, Washington State head coach Mike Leach blasted the media and police for targeting his players.
“We’re going to let the legal system take its course,” Leach said, per The Spokesman-Review. “But the system has to be checked if – with the number of people involved in these incidents – the only ones accused are football players. If that’s the case, then something is seriously wrong, which goes far deeper than whatever has even been alleged.”
As you might expect, the police chief in Pullman denied any allegation by Leach that his department was profiling Washington State football players.
Earlier this week it was looking as though Washington State quarterback Luke Falk might be available to play Washington in this year’s edition of the Apple Cup. Now the outlook is not so good.
According to a report from Stefanie Loh of The Seattle Times, Washington State will start Peyton Bender at quarterback against the Huskies. Falk, who is recovering form a concussion last week, is not expected to dress for the game. It will be the first start of the redshirt freshman’s career. Bender has appeared in four games this season serving as Falk’s backup. In his limited playing time, Bender has completed 17 of 33 pass attempts for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He has been picked off twice.
The loss of Falk is certainly a blow to Washington State’s offense, although we will see if Mike Leach has a system in place where he can plug in a quarterback and still get the production through the air as has been the case during his career. There is no word on whether or not Falk will be available for the bowl season, although that would seem to look possible given more time to recover from a concussion.