Frank Maile calls for investigation into USU president’s comments

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Utah State players boycotted final game because of comments made by Noelle Cockett

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2016 file photo, Utah State’s Frank Maile walks the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against New Mexico in Logan, Utah. Utah State has canceled its football game against Colorado State amid concerns voiced about religious discrimination during the search for a new football coach. Aggies players issued a statement, saying they were opting out of Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 game because of alleged comments made by University President Noelle Cockett about the religious and cultural background of interim coach Frank Maile. (Eli Lucero /The Herald Journal via AP)

LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Former Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile issued a statement on Sunday, calling for a probe into the comments made by USU president Noelle Cockett, that prompted the Aggies to boycott its final game against Colorado State this weekend.

The players allege that Cockett made disparaging comments about Maile’s faith and cultural background. Maile is Polynesian and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints.

Here is Maile’s statement:

“As all college football fans likely know by now, Utah State University’s final game of the season was cancelled yesterday after USU football players chose not to play in protest of something they feel very strongly about: discrimination and bias,” the statement read.

“It is my understanding — from members of the team leadership council who attended a meeting with Utah State President Noelle Cockett and Athletic Director John Hartwell — that I was not ultimately considered for the position of head coach at Utah State (my beloved alma mater) because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program. I have twice served as interim head coach and have gone through the interview process but was not notified of a formal hiring decision until after Noelle Cockett and John Hartwell met with the team.

“As disheartened as I am to learn that this kind of religious and cultural bias exists (because I am Polynesian) at Utah State University, I am equally heart-broken for my players – many of whom are seniors who were preparing for the last game of their collegiate experience. I want to express my upmost respect and admiration for their decision to stand up for what they believe in — and I’m truly honored that they would stand up for me.

“As we move forward, it is important to me to protect both the institution and players that I love. My only hope for this painful and unfortunate situation, is that it will be a positive step in our community’s anti-discrimination journey. To accomplish this, Utah State University Trustees should demand a thorough and independent investigation of religious, cultural and racial discrimination throughout the Utah State University.”

Utah State will announce Blake Anderson as its new head coach at a press conference on Monday. Anderson spent the last seven seasons at Arkansas State, winning 51 games and leading the Red Wolves to six bowl games and two Sun Belt Conference championships.

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