After a three-week independent investigation, the University of Utah announced Wednesday afternoon that defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is no longer the Utes’ “head coach in-waiting.” That verbal agreement between Scalley and Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan was rescinded, along with other sanctions announced by the school.
Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell oversaw the investigation, interviewing 23 current and former football players at Utah, as well as 15 current and former staff members to see if Scalley’s racist language — which he accidentally sent a recruit — was accidental or constituted a pattern of racist behavior.
While Scalley will remain in his position as defensive coordinator, he’ll do so with a big pay cut. Scalley’s multi-year pay increase of $1.1 million, which was to begin this year, has been canceled and instead, the former Utah player will make $525,000 for one year.
As part of the deal, Scalley will take part in diversity and inclusion education as well as work with leadership from the university’s “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” team.
“We have thoroughly evaluated all of the information available to us to determine the most appropriate conclusion and path forward,” said Harlan. “The racist language used by Coach Scalley is inexcusable and harmful to all, particularly to those communities identified in the report. We believe, and expect, that he will learn and lead, while owning his past conduct, to rebuild trust, reconcile harm caused and make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes.”
According to the law firm, most current and former players and coaches did not report hearing Scalley use any racial slurs or derogatory comments. Most praised his style and how he holds players accountable, however, there was still some troubling allegations were raised through the interviews:
Here’s a full breakdown:
- Scalley acknowledged that he inadvertently texted a racial slur to a recruit in 2013 while exchanging texts with another coach.
- 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 student-athletes explained that they do not view Scalley as racist.
- Two former student-athletes reported that, prior to 2013, Scalley used the words “Black ass” when addressing a player during practice. The former player was interviewed and confirmed the use of the words during the 2012 football season but described a different fact pattern than described by the other two student-athletes. Scalley denied this allegation.
- 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 the N-word 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.”
The University also announced that $100,000 of Scalley’s salary will used to enhance programming and staff support for an athlete-led anti-hate group at the school.