Results of USU President Noelle Cockett investigation expected Friday

Noelle Cockett delivers her State of the University address at Utah State University on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

LOGAN – The results of a month-long investigation into the conduct of Utah State University President Noelle Cockett is expected to be released Friday.

The Utah Board of Higher Education will meet in a closed session Friday morning to review the results of an investigation.

Board spokesperson Tricia Dugovic said the board is expected to issue a statement and the results of the investigation will be made public. She said it is not known whether a disciplinary decision will be announced Friday.

During a Dec. 8 Zoom meeting involving Dr. Cockett, USU Director of Athletics John Hartwell and the Aggie football team’s leadership council, President Cockett was reportedly asked why interim coach Frank Maile was being passed over for USU’s head coaching job. At that point, word was the Aggies were about to hire Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson.

Some players said comments made by Pres. Cockett in the meeting reflected a cultural and religious bias toward Maile. A few days later, the full football team met together without coaches and reportedly voted unanimously to boycott the final game of the season at Colorado State University.

The meeting with Pres. Cockett, Hartwell and players was not recorded. The players, Pres. Cockett and Frank Maile have all released statements about the Zoom call but Hartwell has remained silent.

Three days after the Board of Trustees announced their intent for an independent review, the Utah Board of Higher Education on Dec. 15 also authorized an external review and directed the review be conducted jointly with the USU review. The Utah Board of Higher Education has supervisory authority over presidents of Utah’s institutions of higher education, including President Cockett. Maile also called for an independent investigation.

USU retained Stoel Rives to conduct the external review for USU while the Utah Board of Higher Education retained Ray Quinney & Nebeker to conduct their external investigation. The two law firms have worked together throughout the investigation process and will issue a joint report.

On Wednesday, Frank Maile was announced as the associate head coach and defensive line coach at Boise State under new head coach Andy Avalos.

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