Update: Spear has been placed on paid administrative leave for 60 days. From the school’s announcement:
University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear has been put on administrative leave for 60 days while investigators and university leadership work to better understand process failures in reporting sexual assault complaints in 2012 and 2013, what has been done since then, and what should be done in the future.
In the interim, Pete Isakson, associate athletic director, will serve as acting athletic director for day-to-day operations. Brian Foisy, vice president for finance and administration, will work with the athletics business office to manage the finance functions of the department.
“This is a challenging day,” said President Chuck Staben. “But understanding how we’ve handled situations in the past and how we can improve is essential. We have a responsibility to provide our students, and our student-athletes, with the best college experience and the most support possible. We are committed to meeting these expectations.”
Original piece below.
Idaho’s student senate has called for the removal of AD Rob Spear and wants to send a “last chance” message to head football coach Paul Petrino over the culture within the athletics department, according to a report from the Idaho Statesman.
At the heart of the issue is a mishandled sexual assault case from 2013, in which then-football player Jahrie Level was accused of assaulting diver Mairin Jameson. A 2018 report from the Statesman found the school mishandled the subsequent Title IX investigation but did not apologize to the accuser for nearly five years. Level was removed from the team within three weeks after the original complaint, but he remained on the team after another Idaho athlete claimed Level threatened to hit her and, in a separate incident, a female Idaho student was hospitalized with extensive bruises after drinking with Level. Both of those incidents occurred before Level’s alleged assault of Jameson.
“Multiple anonymous written and verbal statements made to ASUI have indicated a marked fear amongst students, staff and faculty of speaking out against Rob Spear and the athletics department in general,” Idaho’s student senate resolution reads.
Idaho’s student senate, which does not have the power to fire Spear or Petrino, nevertheless plans to vote on a resolution that includes the following bullet points, per the Statesman:
▪ The students want “last chance” language added to the contracts for Spear, who has two years left on his deal, and Petrino, who has four years left.
▪ They want “a thorough investigation” of Spear’s handling of sexual assault and misconduct cases.
▪ They want a “comprehensive and anonymous survey” of female athletes from the past 10 years to assess the athletics culture, with results published no later than spring 2019.
▪ They want strong student representation, including student-athletes, on a new task force formed to examine safety and security, announced by the university last week shortly before the Senate meeting.
▪ And they want two more full-time employees in the Office of Civil Rights and Investigations.
The resolution concludes: the student senate “will not be satisfied with anything less than immediate, not postponed, action.”
Spear has been Idaho’s AD since 2003, and Petrino the Vandals’ head coach since 2013. Idaho will compete its first season in the FCS Big Sky Conference this fall.