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University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear placed on administrative leave

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 03, 2018

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has placed athletic director and Butte native Rob Spear on administrative leave on Tuesday.

Spear, as well as head football coach Paul Petrino, a former Carroll College quarterback, is at the center of a violation of Title IX in their mishandling of  sexual assault complaints from 2012 and 2013, according to the Idaho Statesman. The complaints are against former Vandals football player Jahrie Level, the Statesman reported, including instances of sexually assaulting an Idaho diver and a distance runner.

The university’s student body plans to meet with Spear before their Wednesday meeting that will call to vote a request for Spear’s resignation or firing.

Below is the official statement from the University of Idaho regarding their decision:

“University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear has been put on administrative leave for 60 days while investigators and university leadership work to better understand process failures in reporting sexual assault complaints in 2012 and 2013, what has been done since then, and what should be done in the future.

In the interim, Pete Isakson, associate athletic director, will serve as acting athletic director for day-to-day operations. Brian Foisy, vice president for finance and administration, will work with the athletics business office to manage the finance functions of the department.

“This is a challenging day,” said President Chuck Staben. “But understanding how we’ve handled situations in the past and how we can improve is essential. We have a responsibility to provide our students, and our student-athletes, with the best college experience and the most support possible. We are committed to meeting these expectations.”

During the review period, the university will take several actions to address the importance of safety, improved responsiveness and accountability. These include:

  1. Continuing an internal review and engaging an external investigator regarding behaviors of concern.
  2. Engaging an external consultant to help leadership better understand what has happened and bolster the training and support of sexual assault prevention, reporting and response throughout the university, with the goal of creating and maintaining an inclusive community where students feel supported for as long as they are part of the local community.
  3. Hiring additional help to address the workload in the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Investigations. Another position may be hired in the coming months. In the interim, this office will receive any additional support it needs.

At the end of the 60 days, the university will have more information on next steps.

“The goal is to make sure we better understand this situation and how we can both learn from our mistakes and become a leader in responsiveness and transparency,” Staben said.

Spear was inducted into the University of Providence athletics hall of fame last fall. A three-year starter at Butte Central High School, Spear scored 1,022 career points and grabbed 579 rebounds for the Argos, then known as the College of Great Falls. He sat down with MTN Sports in August, discussing how his Montana background led to his post as athletic director of the Vandals.