Washington State lost a game to USC on September 21st after a clear helmet-to-helmet hit by a USC defender on quarterback Gardner Minshew. After the game Washington State head coach Mike Leach didn’t comment on the play, only telling reporters to contact Pac-12 executives about the no call.
According to text messages obtained by Yahoo Sports, Leach contacted Pac-12 executives himself:
Yahoo Sports obtained a trove of text messages from Leach to Pac-12 executives in the wake of that hit, via a public-records request to the school. Leach’s texts include doubts about the Pac-12’s commitment to player safety and insinuations of favoritism in the league office toward other programs. In totality, they underscore a lack of trust in the Pac-12 to officiate games correctly. Last week, the Pac-12 overhauled its replay protocols after a Yahoo Sports report that Dixon, who is not a trained official, telephoned in and overruled replay officials on a different targeting call under review in the same game.
Leach, in a text to Pac-12 vice president of officiating David Coleman, wrote on Sept. 25 about the targeting no-call against USC: “Woodie is a total coward and is afraid of USC. I look forward to telling him in person.”
In texts to Dixon and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Leach blasts the league for not backing up its public posturing about commitment to player safety. Leach wrote to Dixon in the wake of the Gustin hit: “Don’t ever waste my time, making me sit through some sanctimonious speech or demonstration on player safety or targeting if you are going to continue to alibi what happened last Friday.”
Leach also said in a text message to Scott: “The Pac-12 cannot say with any credibility, that they are actually trying to protect student athletes.”
Leach makes several valid points, especially in a time when almost everything remotely resembling targeting is called. How does an obvious targeting penalty not get called?