Star receiver Marquess Wilson says he has quit the Washington State football team, and blamed the coaching staff for what he called abuse of players.
Wilson was suspended this week for an unspecified violation of team rules. He said in a press release Saturday that he has left the program because of the actions of first-year coach Mike Leach and his staff.
Wilson said the new staff has ”preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us.”
Athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement that it was unfortunate Wilson quit.
”I believe I join many Cougars in wishing Marquess well in his future endeavors,” Moos said. ”We have procedures in place that were developed to monitor student-athlete welfare in all of our sports programs. We will continue to follow those procedures and modify them if needed.”
Toward the end of his tenure at Texas Tech, Leach was suspended indefinitely by the school in 2009 after allegations involving inappropriate treatment of a player came down against him. He was fired just days later, as the school called his refusal to apologize to the alleged player "a defiant act of insubordination."
Wilson, a junior, set school single-season records last year with 82 receptions and 1,388 yards receiving. This season, he leads the team with 52 receptions for 813 yards.
His statement, according to the Seattle Times:
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to forgo playing football for Washington State University. I realize the school is saying that I am suspended for violating team policies and may return next week, but this is a lie. This is an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room.
"It has been a privilege to be a Cougar, to perform on your field and wear the Crimson and Gray. I would like to thank Washington State University for giving me the opportunity to do what I love most, to play football and receive a quality education for the past three years. I’m grateful to the athletic department for the coaching, care and encouragement I have received prior to this season.
"This was going to be our year. My teammates and I were aspiring to be the winning team you deserve. Unfortunately for all, the new coaching staff has destroyed that endeavor. I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful and has put a dark shadow on this program.
"My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not ‘tough love.’ It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride. I resign from this team. I am deeply sorry to those I am letting down. I am not a quitter. I was raised by my family, and many previous coaches, to exhibit dedication and embrace sacrifice, but there comes a time when one has to draw a line in the sand.
"Lastly, I thank my fellow teammates, those who also have left the program this year and those we are leaving behind. I hope our departure will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field. I pray for healing and recovery for all those who have been hurt by this treatment."