AD Fired After Allegations He Mishandled Assault Case

August 17, 2018

University of Idaho athletics director Rob Spear has been fired amid allegations his department mishandled complaints of sexual misconduct.

The State Board of Education fired Spear Thursday after placing him on leave in April.

Investigators hired by the university found that he mishandled an accusation of sexual assault against a football player in 2013. Investigators looked into complaints spanning the 2012-13 academic year.

At least three women, two of them university athletes, had filed complaints against football player Jahrie Level in 2012-13, the Idaho Statesman reported. The university and Spear acknowledged that the university’s policies on sexual assault were not followed when one of the women, a diver, accused Level of sexual assault. Level was eventually dismissed from the team after surveillance video surfaced that confirmed the diver’s accusations.

The university placed diving coach Jim Southerland on paid administrative leave in April after an interim suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and USA Diving, the Statesman reported.

Spear has said the university maintains confusing policies and doesn't do enough training in federal gender antidiscrimination laws, but the university's student senate called for his resignation in April.

Last May, 14 members of the university's athletics booster group asked the board to fire Chuck Staben, the university’s president, saying his "lack of leadership, mismanagement and poor policy decisions have damaged the relationship between the administration of the University of Idaho and its faculty, students, alumni, and the good citizens of the state of Idaho." They cited his handling of Spear's case among several complaints.

The state board in May said it wouldn’t renew Staben's contract beyond 2018-19.

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