Utah State Football Player Strike: What Players Should Know and Do

Utah State football players refused to play the last scheduled game, because they believe the school president has disparaged, or cast in a bad light, a coach working there, for ethnic or religious reasons.

The school’s Board of Trustees has announced it will conduct an “independent review.”

But there are two kinds of allegedly “Independent Reviews”.

First Kind of Review: for Board’s Eyes-Only: If the review is for the board’s eyes, only, then it’s a dodge. The board will be on the phone, repeatedly, back and forth, massaging the report, to serve the purposes of the board, not the players. This is a Big Dodge, and watch out for it, because it’s meant to bamboozle the players, and the public

Second kind of Review: strictly independent. This review gives the outside counsel arm’s length independence, within which no board member or staffer is given leeway to affect the final report, and the counsel is given discretion to interview all witnesses.

What do the players need to do?:

Find out which kind of investigation it will be. Object if it’s an inside-job, for board-eyes-only investigation, and put that objection in writing.

Demand that the school pay for counsel, to generate the player’s own completely “independent” report. Try a solid, reputable person, like former North Carolina Supreme Court judge Bob Orr, who is familiar with player issues in the NCAA context. He’s been around the block.

Do a written request, pursuant to Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act, to ask for a video copy of the zoom meeting, but also for all pertinent emails surrounding these events. This request has great heft: it’s like asking for a copy of the cards the other guy is holding. And they have to give them to you. Don’t be afraid to use it: it’s powerful.

Few players anywhere realize the big context: every Power 5 team of players is the single most powerful group on campus — bar none.

About brewonsouthu

lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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