PULLMAN – Results of a Pacific-12 Conference review of the Washington State football program, released Tuesday, cleared coaches of any instances of abuse.
A WSU internal investigation came to the same conclusion previously. The probes were ordered by school president Elson Floyd after former Cougars star receiver Marquess Wilson accused coaches in November of “physical, mental and verbal abuse” before recanting.
“I am pleased with the outcome of both reviews,” Floyd said in a WSU news release. “The well-being of all WSU students is our highest priority, and it was important to take seriously allegations against the program.”
“No surprise,” coach Mike Leach said via text message. “The truth speaks for itself.”
The Pac-12 report said 20 interviews were conducted with players (including Wilson), coaches, parents of players and athletic department personnel.
Part of the report concerned allegations made by the parent of a former player.
“I was pleased that the findings were consistent with that of the athletic department,” athletic director Bill Moos said in a teleconference.
Later, Moos said, “My respect for Mike Leach and his methods and his plan have never wavered and are not wavering now by any means. If anything, I’m even more enthused about the path we’re on.”
In the report, Wilson said he objected to derogatory remarks that coaches made toward players, but “definitely could have used a different word” than abuse. Wilson, who left the team with three games to go, said “they (coaches) are all good guys.”
Wilson’s former teammates said coaches directed more negative comments toward Wilson than other players “because he was highly skilled,” coaches “expected more out of him” and Wilson “did not often display maximum effort.”
Leach was quoted as saying that Wilson, who became WSU’s all-time leading receiver as a junior this past season, “never worked hard.”
The Pac-12 and WSU reports did express concern about players occasionally being sprayed with water from a hose during sand-pit drills. Athletic department officials ordered it stopped. Leach said he was unaware of the spraying when it took place.
Unlike the WSU report, the Pac-12 review specifically said the spraying was done by football strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo. The report said Loscalzo never “deliberately” sprayed a player in the face.
“All parties agreed that the coaching staff is tough, they demand discipline and they will not tolerate anything less than maximum effort when involved in the program,” the report read.
“The vast majority of the student-athletes reported that despite the difficulty of the workouts, they each recognize that it will bring rewards to them and the football program.”
Wilson has rejected interview requests since making his allegations in a letter he released to the media. A phone message left at his home Tuesday was not returned.
It is not known if Wilson will attempt to turn pro or transfer to another school.
Moos said he did not have an estimate for the cost of the Pac-12 review, which was largely outsourced to a Missouri law firm because the Pac-12 office is not equipped to handle such investigations. Moos said he expects WSU will handle the cost, but he expressed hope that the conference may pay part of the bill.