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Leach, WSU cleared of abuse allegations

By Melissa Luck, KXLY4 Executive Producer , melissal@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:30:10 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 01:14:50 PM CST
LEACH PRESSER PIC
PULLMAN, Wash -

The Pac-12 Conference has completed its investigation into abuse allegations by WSU football coach Mike Leach. Their report finds no wrongdoing, despite accusations by former player Marquess Wilson.

The Pac-12 began reviewing Leach and the program after Wilson sent a letter to the media last fall. In the letter, he says he hopes his departure from the team "will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field." WSU says Wilson recanted those allegations just hours later.

In its review, the Pac 12 investigators say they talked to Wilson about the letter. He told them, "I wasn't trying to accuse anyone of abuse.... there was no point where I was trying to say that they're abusing us. I was simply stating why I was leaving - that's all I was trying to do."

When asked why he used the word "abuse" in the letter, Wilson said, "I definitely could have used a different word. I couldn't think of anything or another word at the time I was writing it."

Wilson also acknowledged his step-father gave him "ideas" for the letter, but insists he wrote the letter himself.

In the report, witnesses tell the Pac-12 coaches use strong language in practice and that much of that language was directed at Wilson. But, none of the players described that language as abusive. According to the report, "Most of the student-athletes indicated they have heard that kind of language from coaches most of their lives and are not offended by it."

In its conclusion, the Pac 12 says, "based on the evidence developed in this investigation, there is no basis to conclude that there were any instances of physical, emotional or verbal abuse by university football coaches."

It continues, "The investigative team found there is a clear and identifiable understanding from the student-athletes that the coaches are holding them to higher standards of conduct than they have been held to in the past."

In a statement released Tuesday morning, WSU President Elson S. Floyd said, "The well-being of all WSU students is our highest priority and it was important to take seriously allegations against the program. Now that all the reviews are completed and have rejected those allegations, we will continue to move forward with our goal of establishing a successful program while maintaining the high standards shared by Washington State University, WSU Athletics and Coach Leach.

To read the full report, click here.

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