Utah coach cleared of ex-player's allegations

Updated: January 22, 2004, 4:19 PM ET
Associated Press

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 "extremely insensitive."

"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 athletics?"

Betz declined, through a spokesman, to elaborate on that comment to The Associated Press.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press