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University of Idaho Athletic Director Fired over Sexual Assault Response

Rob Spear was placed on leave back in April as the school conducted an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations against a football player.

University of Idaho Athletic Director Fired over Sexual Assault Response

Spear was fired by the state's Board of Education following a two-hour meeting to discuss personnel. (Image: istock.com/knowlesgallery)

University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear was fired Thursday following an investigation into how the school responded to sexual assault and harassment allegations.

Spear, who was the AD at the Moscow school since 2004, was fired by the state’s Board of Education following a two-hour meeting on Wednesday to discuss personnel issues, reports Sports Illustrated.

The board stepped in to make the final decision after university president Chuck Staben recused himself, citing a conflict of interest, according to a statement from the board.

The board said they were moved to terminate Spear for “convenience” rather than cause, meaning he will be paid for the time left on his deal.

Spear was originally placed on paid administrative leave on April 3 while the university conducted an independent investigation into how school officials responded to several 2013 sexual assault and harassment claims against football player Jahrie Level.

Diver Mairin Jameson reported an alleged assault by Level to Moscow Police who informed Spear and football coach Paul Petrino. Following the accusation, police and school officials collaborated on a threat assessment that determined Level was not a threat.

Video evidence found a month later by retired Lieutenant Dave Lehmitz supported Jameson’s claims and Level was released from the team.

Just fifteen days prior to Jameson’s allegations, distance runner Maggie Miller also told police and Petrino that Level had threatened her.

Jameson and Miller are among eight former U of I female athletes that expressed concerns over Spear’s leadership this year, four of whom contacted the State Board, according to The Idaho Statesman.

“It’s so powerful to me,” Jameson said Thursday of Spear’s firing. “It doesn’t surprise me that there were other stories like mine. When I first started this, (Spear’s removal) wasn’t my intent or my goal, but the more I learned, the more I realized this was the right thing for the University of Idaho.”

After the school’s investigation determined Spear’s response was “insensitive and inadequate”, Spear blamed confusing policies and lack of Title IX training for his mishandling.

Pete Isakson will remain as the school’s acting athletic director for the foreseeable future, according to a statement from the university.

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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