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Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile sheds some light on Jason Shelley dismissal

Utah State Aggies quarterback Jason Shelley (15) passes in Logan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.
Utah State Aggies quarterback Jason Shelley (15) passes in Logan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

When Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile dismissed quarterback Jason Shelley from the Aggies’ football program just over two weeks ago for “a violation of team rules,” he made it clear he would not be fielding any follow-up questions.

The Aggies, 0-4 at the time, were moving on.

On Monday, Maile reversed course a bit, and in a prepared statement offered a little more information regarding Shelley’s dismissal from the team.

“Jason Shelley did nothing illegal. He is a great man,” Maile said, reading the statement word for word. “His dismissal was 100% my decision, not due to any misconduct of any institutional policies or rules.”

Immediately after Shelley’s dismissal, speculation on social media was rampant as to exactly what “a violation of team rules” meant.

Amidst it all, Shelley’s mother, Janine Shelley, commented on Twitter, “If demonstrating passion for the game, frustration or even a verbal altercation is a violation of a “team rule” that warrants a dismissal, then USU was not the place for you (Jason Shelley). God will bring you out better than you were before.”

She also expressed her disappointment regarding the firing of Gary Andersen.

Jason Shelley started four games for Utah State this season after transferring from the University of Utah in July. In the weeks following his dismissal, other Aggie starters have decided to move on the from the program voluntarily, including safety Troy Lefeged Jr., linebacker Tobias Gilliam, wide receiver Deven Thompkins and running back Jaylen Warren.

Since Shelley’s dismissal, Utah State has gone on to win the team’s first game of the 2020 season, a 41-27 victory over New Mexico on Thanksgiving.

Quarterback Andrew Peasley, Shelley’s replacement, was a star in the win over Lobos. The Mountain West Conference recognized him for his efforts on Monday and named him the conference’s offensive player of the week.

Peasley was also named a Manning Star of The Week, joining Georgia State’s Cornelious Brown IV, Miami of Ohio’s Brett Gabbert, Central Florida’s Dillon Gabriel, UTSA’s Frank Harris, Alabama’s Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Appalachian State’s Zac Thomas.

Peasley wasn’t the only Aggie honored on Monday, either. Outside linebacker/defensive end Nick Heninger was named the MWC Defensive Player of the Week and Pro Football Focus’ Secret Superstar.

Additionally, USU placekicker Connor Coles was named the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week.