As the iconic Frank Drebin is wont to say, “move on, there’s nothing to see here.”
Back in early November, then-Washington State wide receiver Marquess Wilson levied some very serious accusations on his way out the door, accusing first-year head coach Mike Leach and his coaching staff of the “physical, emotional and verbal abuse [of players]… in the locker room and on the field.” The allegations prompted the university president to ask for, and get, a two-pronged investigation involving both the athletic department and the Pac-12.
As it pertains to the former, Leach appears to be in the clear.
Washington State announced Wednesday that the athletics department “has completed its internal review of practices and procedures of the WSU football program,” and that “throughout this review there was no report or detection of abuse or inappropriate behavior on the part of Leach or his staff. The investigation was “carried out by four members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Department’s Senior Staff” and included a total of 12 players interviewed by members of WSU athletic director Bill Moos’ staff.
The report stated that the dozen unnamed players “were urged to be honest and forthright and were assured there would be no repercussions regarding their comments.”
In regards to the incident that triggered the brouhaha — Wilson walking out of a “vigorous” Sunday conditioning workout the day after a loss — the players interviewed felt Wilson “let the team down and put them, their coach and WSU in a bad light.”
What’s telling in the report, though, is Moos claiming that Wilson texted him shortly after the incident. In that text, Wilson, per the report, “recanted the allegations of abuse.” Wilson had released a letter to the media earlier that day in which he levied the allegations.
Publicly, Moos has appeared to defer to Leach’s strident denials of abuse, even publicly calling out Wilson for “effort [that] hasn’t always been what it could and should be.” The investigation apparently did nothing to dissuade Moos of his opinion that Leach has the football program on the correct, proper and abuse-free path.
“Last month President Floyd asked me to fully review allegations raised concerning the football program and report those findings and conclusions as soon as possible,” said Moos in a statement attached to the report, which can be read in its entirety HERE. “I have fulfilled his charge over the past few weeks, which included interviews with multiple student-athletes and support staff involved with the program.
“Once I received the findings from members of my staff, I found that the program is moving in the desired direction, that is it on-par with, or exceeds, other BSC-level programs in terms of expectations and commitment.
“Transition in coaching changes is rarely smooth, however, after reviewing the comments from the players that were interviewed, I am encouraged the program is moving in a positive direction.”
The Pac-12 has yet to issue its report on its findings. When that’s expected is unknown.