Saturday July 20th, 2024 12:11AM

Utah State informs football coach Blake Anderson he will be fired for cause after Title IX review

By The Associated Press

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Utah State informed football coach Blake Anderson on Tuesday that he will be fired for cause after an external review of allegations that he hadn’t complied with Title IX policies regarding the reporting of sexual misconduct cases.

Nate Dreiling, who had been Utah State’s defensive coordinator and defensive ends coach, will serve as interim coach during the upcoming season. Athletic director Diana Sabau met players and staff Tuesday to inform them of the move, the university announced in a news release.

Utah State also said associate vice president and deputy athletic director of external affairs Jerry Bovee and football director of player development and community Austin Albrecht were fired “for violations of university policies related to the reporting of sexual and domestic violence and failures of professional responsibilities.”

Bovee was Utah State’s interim athletic director in 2023. Utah State said Anderson would be fired for actions that took place in the spring of 2023.

Utah State noted that Title IX policies “require full and timely reporting of disclosures of sexual misconduct — including domestic violence — and prohibit employees from investigating disclosures of sexual misconduct themselves.”

“As leaders, we are responsible for ensuring allegations of USU policy violations are investigated,” Sabau and Utah State President Elizabeth Cantwell said in an email they sent to faculty and staff. “Today’s actions are the result of a thorough external investigation, and we believe the evidence demands immediate action. Our job is to fearlessly hold ourselves and others accountable for their conduct and to make sure that, for the sake of our students and our community, we are living the values of our university.

“While recognizing the impact of these decisions on our student athletes and football program, we will continue to take the steps necessary to deliver a respectful, transparent and winning culture at Utah State University.”

School officials noted that Anderson has 14 days to respond to the university’s decision under terms of his employment agreement. School officials said they couldn‘t release any additional information until all opportunities to respond or appeal to the decision have expired.

Tom Mars, an attorney representing Anderson, said Utah State lacked justification to fire Anderson for cause.

“Like any university, Utah State could fire Blake Anderson for any reason as long as they paid his buyout,” Mars said. "However, based on the facts alleged and the language in Blake’s employment agreement, USU is going to be fighting an uphill battle if they try to fire him for cause just to avoid paying Blake what he’s owed.

"Stiffing a head coach by blaming him for what his supervisor allegedly failed to do is a novel approach that hasn’t been tried before, but that theory will never hold up in court."

Anderson posted a 23-17 record in three seasons at Utah State, with the Aggies reaching bowl games each of those years. He went 11-3 in 2021 before going 6-7 each of the last two years.

He came to Utah State after going 51-37 at Arkansas State from 2014-20. He took a leave of absence prior to the 2019 season just before his wife, Wendy Anderson, died after a two-year fight with breast cancer. He returned for the second game of that season and helped Arkansas State go 8-5.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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