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LOGAN — Following the release of controversial audio from a team meeting that involved the university's now-former chief of police, Utah State football head coach Blake Anderson offered an apology for his statements that were also caught on the recording.
Anderson, who began his tenure as USU's coach last December, was heard on a recording obtained by KSL earlier in the week saying it "has never been more glamorized to be a victim" of sexual assault.
The recording was cited in a recent lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who was sexually assaulted by a football player at USU in 2019.
The comments were made during a team meeting in August that also included Earl Morris, then USU's chief of police, telling players they live in a "Mormon community" and women may regret having sex after the fact, which could lead to reports of sexual assault.
"Oftentimes it's easier to say, 'No, no, no, that wasn't consensual,'" Morris said on the recording. He was later placed on administrative leave by the university before he resigned from the job on Thursday.
On Friday, Utah State University issued a news release that included an apology from Anderson, who said he always wants his players doing the right thing whenever possible.
"In the course of that conversation, I used a phrase regarding victims of wrongdoing to magnify that message to our team, but after reading my comments in the transcript that was released, I realize my choice of words was hurtful," Anderson said in the written statement.
"I regret the words I used, and I apologize to anyone who has bravely come forward with allegations of wrongdoing."
For years, the university has faced intense scrutiny about how it handles sexual assault cases. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the school's policies and handling of sexual assault from 2013-2017, saying the school had not been in compliance with Title 9 guidelines. The school later announced a settlement with the DOJ, with the admission there were university-wide failures with how the school handled sexual assaults.
Utah State is set to play Oregon State on Saturday evening in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl in California.