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Idaho athletic director Rob Spear fired after investigation into sexual misconduct handling

Posted at 2:26 PM, Aug 16, 2018

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho State Board of Education voted on Thursday to fire University of Idaho athletic director and Butte native Rob Spear. The termination comes after an investigation into how the athletic department handled sexual misconduct complaints in 2012 and 2013.

Spear was originally placed on 60-day administrative leave on April 3 of this year. Two days after that, Spear spoke at a university student government meeting where they voted 10-5 in a resolution calling for Spear to be removed from office.

Pete Isakson has been serving as the acting athletic director and the university announced that he will remain in that role.

Here is the statement from the Idaho Board of Education on Thursday’s decision:

The Idaho State Board of Education voted today to terminate for convenience Athletic Director Dr. Rob Spear’s employment agreement with the University of Idaho. The action is a contractual right set forth in Spear’s employment agreement with the University. Dr. Spear will receive compensation for the remainder of the term of his employment agreement. The Agreement terminates on February 17, 2020.

Prior to the vote Board Member Emma Atchley made the following statement and motion:

“We’re involved in consideration of Dr. (Rob) Spear’s employment status as a result of President (Chuck) Staben’s disclosure of a conflict of interest and at President Staben’s request to recuse himself. As a result of the President’s recusal, the Board is not considering or giving any weight to information or opinions he may have provided. The independent report commissioned by the University to review the University’s response to 2012 and 2013 allegations of sexual misconduct identified in a number of ways the University failed to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual misconduct. The investigators concluded that the University failed to provide proper notice and education to the University community of significant changes to its policies regarding sexual misconduct. The report said “[t]he result of the failures to provide proper notice of policy changes and education regarding Title IX resulted in those in the Athletics Department (as well as in other departments), lacking an understanding of the appropriate processes to address allegations of misconduct.” We’ve considered the report, comments received from the public and the university community, information received from the University’s counsel, and information received from Dr. Spear and his legal counsel. After considering this information and what’s in the University’s and the students’ best interest, I move to terminate for convenience pursuant to Dr. Spear’s employment agreement with the University.”

Because this is a personnel matter, neither the Board, nor individual Board members will make any further statements.

The University of Idaho also published its own statement as well:

“The Idaho State Board of Education, sitting as the Board of Regents of the University of Idaho, made a difficult decision today to terminate U of I Athletic Director Rob Spear’s contract. University leadership respects this decision and will work closely with the board and, with the support of our university community, will continue to move our great institution forward in a positive and productive way. Pete Isakson has been serving the university well as acting athletic director and will continue in this role for the foreseeable future.”

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.