The Utah Board of Higher Education has “unanimous support” for Utah State University president Noelle Cockett, the board said Friday, The Deseret News reported.
The board commissioned an outside evaluation of Cockett amid concerns that she had shown bias against interim head football coach Frank Maile, who is Polynesian and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Though some remarks made were interpreted as potential or cultural bias, they were not intended as such. President Cockett has long demonstrated her commitment to make USU a welcoming, nurturing environment for people from all backgrounds,” the board statement said.
The report said that “neither President Cockett nor [Athletic Director John] Hartwell expressly stated that their ‘primary concern’ about Coach Maile was his religious or cultural background, nor that his background would disqualify him as a coaching candidate.”
Nick Heninger, a linebacker for the team and the team spokesman, said the outcome was “unbelievable to me. It looks like there’s nothing changing, right?” He said the players may continue to raise concerns. “I mean, we just got shafted by the board right now,” he said.