Thursday, January 22, 2004
Utah coach cleared of ex-player's allegations
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus was
cleared in an investigation into a complaint by a former player who
claimed the coach berated him about his partial hearing loss,
university officials said.
Athletic director Chris Hill confirmed there was a university
investigation, launched after a complaint from former Utes center
Lance Allred after the 2001-2002 season.
"They determined after a full examination that he did not
discriminate against Lance," Hill said Thursday.
Hill said he was prevented by school policy from discussing
details of the investigation.
Allred told The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus used offensive,
vulgar language two years ago when berating him and mentioned
Allred's partial deafness. The 6-foot-11 center transferred to
Weber State, citing constant abuse.
"He told me, 'Lance, you've weaseled yourself through life
using your hearing as an excuse. You're a disgrace to cripples. If
I was a cripple in a wheelchair and saw [the way] you play
basketball, I'd shoot myself,' " Allred told The Tribune.
Majerus denied he made the statements, which he called
"I like Lance very much and only wish the best for him,"
Majerus said. "However ... when he left this program, he was not
very happy. My experience with disgruntled players has been that
there is sometimes a revision of history."
Two former players interviewed by the Tribune confirmed some of
Allred's reports. However, two coaches said they never heard
Majerus say those things.
Interim university president Lorris Betz told the Tribune he was
"confident in the process" also, but he couldn't elaborate
because of confidentiality concerns.
"There are some things we as an institution need to ask
ourselves," he said. "If the allegations were accurate, we would
not tolerate that in the classroom. Should it be tolerated in
Betz declined, through a spokesman, to elaborate on that comment
to The Associated Press.