Montana unexpectedly fired its athletic director, Jim O’Day, and its head football coach, Robin Pflugrad Thursday. The timing in March following an 11-win season and a conference title is curious, especially considering the team’s recent string of sexual assault allegations implicating multiple members of the football team.
The firings come just days after a Montana student filed a complaint accusing starting quarterback Jordan Johnson of sexual assault. Despite recent criticism about the university’s handling of sexual assault cases, specifically prioritizing the accused student over the accusing student, Johnson was allowed to return to spring practice. Pflugrad, in fact, offered a ringing endorsement of the quarterback’s character, refuted by the alleged victim’s attorney on Wednesday.
“I think any time you have a person of Jordy’s character and tremendous moral fiber, and he’s your team captain and part of the leadership council, your players are going to be fired up,” Pflugrad said at the time.
Facing a considerable amount of potential trouble, that’s about the last comment the University would want to have associated with itself on record. At the very least, uttering that statement suggests a profound failure to grasp the situation’s severity.
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