Utah State University has been in the headlines lately as its football program and athletics staff have faced scrutiny.
The flurry of news has ranged from the athletic director stepping down to a new lawsuit from a former football player to a woman who is still waiting for her day in court in her case against ex-athlete Torrey Green.
Here’s a rundown of seven recent stories that have drawn attention to the Logan school:
John Hartwell, the athletic director at Utah State, resigned after seven years on the job and 25 years in college sports. He said at the time that he and his wife, Heather, wanted to spend more time with family.
“[They] need to be our number one priority,” he said.
Hartwell made a number of significant hires during his tenure in Logan, including revitalizing the men’s basketball program with the hire of Craig Smith (now head coach at the University of Utah) and bringing in Blake Anderson to lead the Aggies to their first-ever Mountain West Conference championship in football.
One day after announcing his resignation, Hartwell apologized for a 2019 video that shows him repeating part of a vulgar joke while he was away at a bowl game for the school.
An anonymous group raised the video with USU administrators in August, calling Hartwell’s conduct “abhorrent” in a letter signed by “concerned Aggies.” The letter, which lists other issues with athletics and within the football program in particular, was released Wednesday in response to a public records request filed by The Salt Lake Tribune.
In a second released letter, Green Bay Packer Dallin Leavitt — a former USU football player — wrote to university President Noelle Cockett last month, citing the video as among reasons he is “beyond ashamed” of the school’s program.
USU could pay Hartwell up to $750,000 as part of his severance agreement.
He would be paid in monthly installments between Dec. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2024, according to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Tribune. However, that amount would be offset dollar for dollar by the salary of Hartwell’s next job.
The university has also named Jerry Bovee as interim athletics director.
A week before Hartwell stepped down, a former football player filed a lawsuit against the school and head coach Anderson.
Patrick Maddox alleges he was retaliated against after he shared recordings of the coach and then-campus police chief making derogatory comments last year about sex assault victims during team meetings.
The recordings were originally described in a lawsuit filed last year by Kaytriauna Flint, a USU student and a friend of Maddox’s who alleged she was raped by another member of the football team in 2019.
When other players found out he had shared the audio, Maddox said, he began to be bullied and face threats of violence. Maddox also alleges that Anderson told the team that Maddox “made a mistake,” and the players could punish him however they “saw fit.” Maddox said he felt forced to leave the team.
Coach Anderson has defended himself against what he calls the “false statements” from Maddox.
This week, he said on a radio show: “I have to trust the process and that the truth will ultimately be seen.” He also put out a statement on Twitter.
But Anderson has previously acknowledged making the statement in the recordings from August 2021 where he tells his players it “has never been more glamorized to be a victim.” He apologized for saying that.
In October, Flint — whose lawsuit mentions those recordings — settled her case with Utah State.
She will get $500,000 in exchange for dropping her claims.
“I hope that they make the change that needs to happen now,” she said.
Seven years after she says she was raped by then-football player Torrey Green, Rae Edwards talked about how she is still waiting for justice.
She was one of 19 women who made sexual assault allegations against Green, and one of the seven whose cases prosecutors eventually filed in court. A trial was held three years ago for six of them — strangers to each other who told similar stories of being sexually assaulted during their first time alone with Green. A jury convicted him, and he was sentenced to spend at least 26 years in prison. (He is now calling for a new trial.)
But Edwards’ report was different enough that a judge ruled it would be unfair to Green for her testimony to be heard with the six others. She hopes to be able to have a hearing for her case some time soon.
“The only way to be done with it is going to trial,” she said. “It’s a big deal to me that it happens and it’s done with so that I can move on from it.”