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Results expected soon on investigation into USU President Noelle Cockett

Jan 14, 2021, 8:01 AM
FILE -- Noelle Cockett, president of Utah State University, speaks about the spread of COVID-19 dur...
FILE -- Noelle Cockett, president of Utah State University, speaks about the spread of COVID-19 during a press conference in the Emergency Operations Center at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

LOGAN, Utah — The results of a month-long investigation into the conduct of Utah State University President Noelle Cockett are expected to be released this week.

Investigation looks into alleged racial, cultural bias

The Utah Board of Higher Education says they’ll be meeting Friday morning in a closed session to review results from the investigation. While results will likely be made public on Friday, it’s still unclear whether any disciplinary decisions will also be announced. 

The investigation stems back to a Zoom meeting on December 8 between Dr. Cockett, USU Director of Athletics John Hartwell and the Aggie football team’s leadership council. Some players claim comments made by Cockett during the meeting reflected a cultural and religious bias toward former interim head football coach Frank Maile.

Maile later sent a letter to the media claiming that Cockett told members of the USU football team and the team’s leadership council that she did not consider him for the position of head coach “because of concerns that [his] religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program.” Maile is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A few days following the Zoom meeting, the team reportedly voted unanimously to boycott their final game of the season at Colorado State University.

Aggies announce new hire, Maile lands in Boise

Following the end of the season, Utah State University announced the hire of Blake Anderson as their new head coach. He was previously the head coach at Arkansas State. 

The Zoom meeting in question was not recorded, although the players, Cockett and Maile have all released statements since the alleged incident. Only Hartwell has declined to provide a statement.

It was announced Wednesday that Maile has secured a job with Boise State as the associate head coach and defensive line coach. 

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Results expected soon on investigation into USU President Noelle Cockett