A Washington State University internal review of the football program found no evidence that supports former wide receiver Marquess Wilson’s claims – later recanted, athletic director Bill Moos said – of “physical, emotional and verbal abuse” by the coaching staff.
“There is no sign of abuse or mistreatment of players,” Moos said during a hastily arranged teleconference Wednesday afternoon from Pullman.
“Pleased with the findings but not surprised,” head coach Mike Leach wrote in a text message. “It is great to work at a University with the integrity of Washington State.”
Moos revealed during the teleconference that he received a text message from Wilson shortly after the UCLA game Nov. 10 in which Wilson recanted the abuse claims he made in a statement sent to media earlier in the day. Moos said he was hesitant to reveal contents of the text because of possible legal ramifications in regard to student rights.
Then on Nov. 11, WSU president Elson Floyd asked for independent school and Pac-12 Conference investigations of the football program.
“The president and I both felt it was in our best interests, and the best interests of the football staff and our student-athletes, to go forward with the review,” Moos said.
In a statement released by the school, Floyd said he will “thoroughly evaluate” the WSU and Pac-12 reviews before commenting on them.
Moos said he “would guess” the conference is close to finalizing its investigation. “I would expect a similar conclusion,” he said.
Moos has staunchly defended Leach in the face of criticism for his demanding ways and harsh public criticism of players on occasion.
“It’s very demanding here and I want it that way,” Moos said. “That’s one of the reasons I hired Mike Leach.”
Moos said he assigned WSU senior associate athletic directors Bob Minnix and John Johnson – both of whom played college football – to interview 12 players.
Moos said the players selected were “as diverse as possible with attention paid to position, year in school and ethnicity.”
“The result of these discussions found that all 12 players felt they are having a positive experience at Washington State and feel supported academically and socially as well as from a football perspective,” the report said.
Wilson has declined comment to the media since issuing his statement last month after he walked out of a conditioning workout, was suspended and quit the team.