SALT LAKE CITY — As part of his “retribution” for his racist remarks from several years ago that led to his suspension for the past three weeks, Utah assistant football coach Morgan Scalley has been directed to engage in diversity education as well as have his salary cut in half with a portion going to a forum against hate.
A letter from athletics director Mark Harlan and head football coach Kyle Whittingham that was released to the public Wednesday, directed Scalley to “engage with leadership of the University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team, including Vice President Mary Ann Villarreal.” Scalley must also “participate in regular and ongoing diversity and inclusion education, and will be expected to be a key partner in addressing issues of racism and bias in the Utah Athletics Department, the University and the broader community,” according to the letter.
“I believe we have a very good culture, but there’s always room for improvement.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham
Scalley was to receive $1.1 million in salary next year, but that will be reduced to $525,000 on a one-year contract. Part of that will go to a student-athlete forum against hate.
“In our continuing efforts to work closely with our student-athletes to address issues of systemic inequity and racism in society, $100,000 previously directed to coach Scalley’s compensation will be redirected to enhance programming and staffing support to the Athletics Department’s U.T.A.H. Group (United Together Against Hate), a student-athlete forum launched in early 2019,” read the letter from Harlan and Whittingham.
Since taking over in 2005, Whittingham has developed one of the most diverse football programs in the country with nearly one-third of the players being African American and one-third being Polynesian. The investigative report by Husch Blackwell released Wednesday, said that current and former student-athletes interviewed were uniform in their praise of the culture within the football program.
“Multiple student-athletes remarked on the team’s diversity and said there have been no racial issues or tensions. Numerous student-athletes described the team as being a “family environment,” praised their strong bonds and friendships, and said the players were like brothers to one another.”
One former student-athlete who observed that the team’s diversity was the best part of being on the team, also claimed the coaches had a “learning curve” because they “were not used to a lot of minority players.”
The report said several individuals commented on the diversity of the program, noting that it is one of the most diverse in the country and “praised the program’s culture, describing it as very positive and something about which they take great pride.”
That was reiterated by Whittingham in the press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“I believe we have a very good culture, but there’s always room for improvement,” he said.
Whittingham said the coaches and players have had several good team meetings over the past month and that the leadership committee on the team is outstanding.
“We’re good, but good is the enemy of great,” he said. “So we’re constantly striving to be better and that will never stop. And we’ll never be satisfied.”
When asked if Utah’s recruiting will be harmed by the publicity surrounding the questions with Scalley’s behavior, Whittingham said he believed it could be overcome.
Whittingham talked about Scalley being “an outstanding recruiter” and pointed out that 51 of the 57 players he has signed for the U. program over the past decade were minority players.
“So he’s going to have to work extra hard to get some of that trust back,” Whittingham said. “But I have no doubt that will happen in time. Recruiting is the lifeblood of our program. I have no doubt Morgan will continue to be an outstanding recruiter.”