SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah Athletics Department announced Wednesday that football coach, Morgan Scalley, will keep his job after an investigation of a racial slur he used in a text message -- but it will come at a cost.
The background, investigation and findings were detailed in a letter from Athletic Director, Mark Harlan, and Head Football Coach, Kyle Whittingham.
On Wednesday, June 30, 2020 the school was notified about racist language Scalley used in a 2013 text. Scalley was contacted, and that night he confirmed he had sent the text.
On Friday, June 5, Scalley was suspended and issued a public apology.
On Sunday, June 7, the Kansas City law firm Husch Blackwell was hired to conduct an investigation.
The firm conducted interviews with 35 current and former student-athletes, coaches and staff members.
That included an in-depth conversation with the 13-member Leadership Council, a diverse group of student-athletes from the team’s various classes, as well as a meeting with the entire team in which the serious and significant findings of the report were presented.
These conversations were insightful and candid, which provided an even deeper level of understanding of the range of emotions our student-athletes are feeling. They communicated to us their concerns and expectations, as well as their strong support for Coach Scalley to remain on the staff.
We have thoroughly evaluated all of the information available to us to determine the most appropriate conclusion and path forward. The racist language used by Coach Scalley is inexcusable and harmful to all, particularly to those communities identified in the report. We believe, and expect, that he will learn and lead, while owning his past conduct, to rebuild trust, reconcile harm caused and make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes.
Therefore, we have determined that Coach Scalley will remain in his position on the football staff, but the seriousness of his actions warrants the following:
- Coach Scalley will engage with leadership of the University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team, including Vice President Mary Ann Villarreal. He will participate in regular and ongoing diversity and inclusion education, and will be expected to be a key partner in addressing issues of racism and bias in the Utah Athletics Department, the University and the broader community.
- In December 2019, the University and Coach Scalley verbally agreed to a multi-year extension of his contract, increasing his annual compensation to $1.1 million. Instead, his new contract will revert to his 2018 compensation level in the form of a one-year term for $525,000.
- In December 2019, Director of Athletics Mark Harlan extended a verbal offer to Coach Scalley to become the Head Coach In-Waiting, which Harlan has now rescinded.
In our continuing efforts to work closely with our student-athletes to address issues of systemic inequity and racism in society, $100,000 previously directed to Coach Scalley’s compensation will be redirected to enhance programming and staffing support to the Athletics Department’s U.T.A.H. Group (United Together Against Hate), a student-athlete forum launched in early 2019.