Utah Football Releases Details Of Investigation Into Morgan Scalley Incident

Jul 1, 2020, 3:04 PM | Updated: 10:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah football program has released the details of their independent investigation into Morgan Scalley’s incident.

Utah’s defensive coordinator admitted to sending a text message in 2013 to a recruit when he meant to send it to a fellow coach. Athletics Director Mark Harlan placed Scalley on suspension while hiring independent investigators.

The program announced on Wednesday that Scalley would remain with the team but had to follow certain stipulations including engaging with leadership of the University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team, including Vice President Mary Ann Villarreal. He will participate in regular and ongoing diversity and inclusion in education, and will be expected to be a key partner in addressing issues of racism and bias in the Utah Athletics Department, the University and the broader community.

Also, Scalley verbally agreed to a contract extension in December 2019. The contract was a multi-year deal worth $1.1 million annually. His contract will now be a one-year deal for $525,000.

Finally, Scalley was verbally offered by Harlan to be the head coach in waiting but that offer has now been rescinded.

Husch Blackwell LLP conducted the investigation and provided the following details in their report.

Scope Of Investigation

Husch Blackwell investigators conducted interviews with 35 individuals, including 23 current and former members of the football team along with 15 current and former employees and football program consultants. The investigators contacted 9 current and former players and one former employee who did not respond to requests or declined to participate in the investigation.

During the investigation, Husch Blackwell sent out an email to all former and current defensive backs associated with the football program to notify them of the investigation and providing them with the opportunity to report concerns and speak with investigators.

On top of the interviews, investigators reviewed records provided by the Full Circle Group regarding team leadership retreats.

The investigation focused on the nature and extent of Scalley’s potential misconduct, including whether the racial slur used in 2013 was an isolated incident or part of a broader pattern of racially offensive comments or conduct.

Summary Of Information Gathered

The investigators released the following allegations regarding Scalley in their report.

  • Scalley acknowledged that he inadvertently texted a racial slur to a recruit in 2013 while exchanging texts with another coach. The coach’s recollection of that event is consistent with Scalley’s.
  • Almost all the current and former student-athletes interviewed described being “shocked”when they learned about Scalley’s use of the racial slur from media reports. Most of the current and former student-athletes interviewed did not report ever hearing Scalley or any of the other coaches use racial slurs or make derogatory comments. Numerous studentathletes explained that they do not view Scalley as racist.
  • Several former student-athletes reported Scalley making comments about their hair, appearance, or clothing that they believe implicated racial stereotypes and demonstrated a lack of interest in understanding them. Scalley denied treating any of his players differently due to race.
  • Most of the student-athletes interviewed described having a positive relationship with Scalley. He was characterized as a tough coach who pushes players hard on the field. Student-athletes also described him as aggressive, emotional, and someone who cares about his players.
  • The employees interviewed agreed that Scalley is known for being a tough coach who holds players accountable. Members of the coaching staff described him as direct, loving, smart, firm, knowledgeable, and intense. He was also described as someone who jokes around and likes having fun.
  • Several coaches and former and current players said Scalley can be intimidating and intense in his coaching style. It was reported that Scalley yells frequently and may verbally attack the players before apologizing. Scalley denies that he verbally attacks players.
  • One former student-athlete alleged that, prior to 2013, Scalley used a racial slur toward him at practice. Three former student-athletes stated that the former student-athlete informed them of this allegation while they were on the football team. None of the former student-athletes interviewed about the alleged incident said they observed it. None of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, or leadership consultants were previously aware of or could corroborate this allegation. Scalley denied the allegation.
  • One employee alleged during his interview, and two other employees corroborated, that Scalley made a racist “joke” regarding Polynesians and Native Americans at practice in 2018. Scalley admitted telling the “joke.”
  • Scalley stated that his players are not just names to him. He provided numerous examples of players from all backgrounds with whom he has had a close relationship and whom he has mentored athletically, academically, and personally.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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