The final Utah State University football game of the season was canceled last week after players expressed concerns over comments they said President Noelle Cockett made about the religious and cultural background of interim coach Frank Maile.
The statement the team made announcing their decision did not specify what Cockett’s comments were and now the USU Board of Trustees is calling for an independent review of the players’ concerns. According to the team, the president’s comments were in relation to the conversation about whether or not Maile would be hired as the new head coach.
Maile, who was not selected for the position, made a statement on Sunday and wrote he was “disheartened to learn that this kind of religious and cultural bias exists (because I am Polynesian) at Utah State University.” Maile said he is especially disappointed for his seniors that missed their last name and is grateful his players would stand up and defend him.
In a statement made by Cockett on Saturday, the president wrote she was devastated that her comments were interpreted as bias against anyone’s religious background. “Regardless of how difficult the conversations might be in the coming days,” she said, “ I remain committed to giving our students a voice.”