AD Bill Moos backs Mike Leach, will meet with Pullman police Thursday

ByKevin Gemmell ESPN logo
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Washington State president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Bill Moos will meet with the chief of the Pullman Police Department to discuss the growing rift between the football program and those who police the college town, Moos told ESPN on Wednesday.

Schulz confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that the meeting will take place Thursday.

Moos told ESPN that he requested the meeting with Chief Gary Jenkins and that there was "a mutual feeling" to discuss three separate incidents involving alleged assaults by football players as well as fiery comments from coach Mike Leach.

In a statement Tuesday, Leach intimated that the police department was singling out his players.

"He's doing what any good football coach would do," Moos said. "He's trying to protect his players. There is no coach I've ever been around in my long career as an athletic director that is more of a disciplinarian than Mike Leach. He's got solid rules that pertain to drug testing, assault of women and robbery that are no-tolerance. He's tough on fighting too."

Leach made his statements after news broke that linebacker Logan Tago had been arrested Monday on suspicion of robbery and assault. The same day, Pullman police recommended that safety Shalom Luani be charged with second-degree assault stemming from an incident in August. A third investigation that may include multiple football players involved in a fight at a house party in July is ongoing.

Asked if he agrees with Leach that the police are targeting football players, Moos said: "I don't know if they are deliberately doing that. I think our guys are the most recognizable. When you're in a group and there is a party ... a big guy stands out. This is an intimate enough campus. There, students know who the athletes are."

Jenkins was traveling out of the state Wednesday, but he told the Spokesman-Review on Wednesday that he understands Leach's frustrations.

"I don't take [the comments] personally," Jenkins told the paper. "I am sensitive that my staff might. I just want to make it clear that my staff hasn't done anything wrong in any way. But I completely understand where Coach Leach is coming from.

"Our priority is a thorough investigation, and sometimes that takes time. To me, these latest incidents, I would consider them an anomaly from what we have seen from the players of these coaches."

Leach's biggest point of contention is that, in all three incidents, there may be others involved but only the football players are being singled out.

"If the other guilty parties are not accused or charged, there needs to be an extensive investigation as to why," Leach said Tuesday. "How in the world can only football parties be guilty in events depicted like this? It is irresponsible to this town, this community and everybody to have some kind of a double standard where we only focus on one demographic, one group of people, and then drag their name through the newspaper with a bunch of irresponsible comments."

Moos said he knew Leach's feelings on the subject and has no objections to his statement.

"I stand behind Mike and his feelings and his desire to protect his players when they are accused of things and when there may be in fact more to the story," Moos said.

Washington State opened the 2016 season with three-point losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State. The Cougars wrap up their nonconference schedule Saturday at home against Idaho.