Frank Maile joins USU Board of Trustees in calling for ‘thorough and independent investigation’

Maverik Stadium on the Utah State University campus

LOGAN – Frank Maile has joined the Utah State University Board of Trustees in calling for an independent investigation into allegations of religious and cultural bias exhibited by university president Noelle Cockett during his hiring process. According to a statement released Sunday, Maile was told by players that he “was not ultimately considered for the position of head coach at Utah State (my beloved alma mater) because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program.”

The players boycotted their final game of the season in protest. On Saturday, USU released a statement that their Board of Trustees would retain an independent investigator to conduct a thorough review of the claims raised by the students.

Maile was named the interim head coach at USU after Gary Andersen was dismissed after an 0-3 start to the season. While Maile expressed sadness that such an event may have taken place, he was also encouraged by the players’ actions and attitudes toward him, personally.

I want to express my upmost respect and admiration for their decision to stand up for what they believe in — and I’m truly honored that they would stand up for me,” Maile’s statement said.

Friday evening Cockett released a statement of her own, that she was devastated that her comments were interpreted as bias.

On Saturday, USU formally announced that Blake Anderson would be the next head football coach of the Aggies.

Frank Maile’s full statement is below:

As all college football fans likely know by now, Utah State University’s final game of the season was cancelled yesterday after USU football players chose not to play in protest of something they feel very strongly about: discrimination and bias.

It is my understanding — from members of the team leadership council who attended a meeting with Utah State President Noelle Cockett and Athletic Director John Hartwell — that I was not ultimately considered for the position of head coach at Utah State (my beloved alma mater) because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program. I have twice served as interim head coach and have gone through the interview process but was not notified of a formal hiring decision until after Noelle Cockett and John Hartwell met with the team.

As disheartened as I am to learn that this kind of religious and cultural bias exists (because I am Polynesian) at Utah State University, I am equally heart-broken for my players – many of whom are seniors who were preparing for the last game of their collegiate experience. I want to express my upmost respect and admiration for their decision to stand up for what they believe in — and I’m truly honored that they would stand up for me.

As we move forward, it is important to me to protect both the institution and players that I love. My only hope for this painful and unfortunate situation, is that it will be a positive step in our community’s anti-discrimination journey. To accomplish this, Utah State University Trustees should demand a thorough and independent investigation of religious, cultural and racial discrimination throughout the Utah State University.

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6 Comments

  • David December 14, 2020 at 12:06 am Reply

    I understand directly from one of the players on the Utah State Football team that President Noelle Cockett exposed her bias and prejudice against hiring a coach that was “Mormon”. She also made in appropriate remarks about his Polynesian Culture.

    There is not room for this in our society today.

  • Cook davis December 15, 2020 at 1:03 pm Reply

    This should be investigated. However with most investigations the truth will be colored by bias. It is inexcusable to be a head of a university and even mention religion or culture in hiring.

  • Dean December 16, 2020 at 10:52 am Reply

    For all those claiming to be shocked about such a statement, I spent many years at U.S.U., this is not
    a new view held and expressed by some faculty members to their students. Anti-LDS views are systemic at U.S.U.

    • Concern Aggie December 21, 2020 at 9:13 am Reply

      I would use my real name but fear retribution. This is just the tip of an iceberg. I have watched it grow, expand, and endure the “Morman” religion being attacked ever since Kemit Hall was president. It really doesn’t surprise someone slipped up in a public forum.

  • skeetr December 18, 2020 at 9:18 am Reply

    Reading this story feels like eating chewed food. Without the exact words and the context they were spoken in we’re going off second hand feelings from a group of people not known for their rational thought.

  • Barbabus December 27, 2020 at 5:06 pm Reply

    Well it is really no different than when lds members of the state legislature defy the populace and cram mormonism down our throats i.e. the mmj law.
    If she said it and she disparaged his religion then she needs to be spanked. I do wonder if she maid the same comment about Muslims or Jews if we would have received the same reaction.

    Just sayin!

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