The Washington State University Football team responded to allegations of physical and emotional abuse Monday afternoon at a press conference.
"We don't have anything to hide around here," said Washington State Football Head Coach Mike Leach.
Leach addressed the media to discuss the situation regarding some very serious accusations. KLEW News asked the coach if he felt the actions are representative of a disgruntled player throwing out baseless claims. Leach said he does feel that is the case. Former star Wide Receiver Marquess Wilson claims otherwise.
Wilson walked out of practice a week prior to Saturday's game and cleaned out his locker. He then released a letter addressed to Cougar Nation, two hours before the game against the UCLA Bruins to confirm he quit the team and then said the coaching staff was physically, emotionally and mentally abusive.
He explains, "I realize the school is saying that I am suspended for violating team policies and may return next week, but this is a lie. This is an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room."
Wilson blasts the coaching strategies of Mike Leach and says, "My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not 'tough love.' It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue."
Wilson finishes by saying, "I hope our departure will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field."
Washington State University President Elson Floyd did not take the allegations lightly. He immediately ordered the Washington State athletic department to conduct an internal investigation and then requested that the PAC-12 conference hold an independent investigation."
"At the request of Washington State I can confirm that the PAC-12 will conduct an independent review of the matter," said a PAC-12 Conference Spokesperson. "We don't have a timeline as of yet."
In a press conference Monday, WSU Offensive Lineman Elliott Bosch stood up for the coaching staff. He said Outside Lineman Coach Paul Volero once got physical but not abusive.
"You know he grabbed some guys by the chest plate and he wanted to take a look in their eyes and see if they really wanted to be there, if there were there for the right reasons, if they wanted to win and that's all he was doing," said Bosch.
Leach said every single player stuck through the workout that Wilson prematurely left last week, and they'll continue to keep moving forward without him.
"Sixty-five people went through the workout and he left after 15 minutes and nobody went after him," said Leach. "I think it says more about him than it does anybody or anything else. And the great thing is I've got an eye witness."
This is not the first time Mike Leach has faced controversy regarding his players. In 2009, Leach was fired from Texas Tech University when ESPN Analyst Craig James' son accused Leach of physically abusing him.
Amid the investigation, the Washington State Cougars are preparing for their game against Arizona State University this Saturday in Tempe.