Frank Maile issued a statement Sunday in response to the allegations of discriminatory remarks made by Utah State University President Noelle Cockett in regard to him and his viability as a candidate for the school’s recently concluded head coaching search.
“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.”
USU’s board of trustees announced Saturday that it will retain an independent investigator to conduct a review of concerns raised by members of the football team.
“We take this matter seriously and understand that facts and details matter,” said Jody Burnett, chair of the board of trustees. “The players’ statement did not provide details about what was said. As a result, we will be working with an independent investigator to understand what was said during the meeting and the context for the alleged statements. Consistent with our university culture, USU is committed to listening to students, and we will handle this matter with integrity, fairness and open minds.”
Utah State announced Saturday it has hired Blake Anderson as its next football head coach, replacing Gary Andersen. Maile served as the interim coach after Andersen was fired following the team’s third game.