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Marquess Wilson's abuse allegations: Questions about the investigation

A few questions about the investigation into Marquess Wilson's allegations of abuse.


As far as we know, the Pac-12 and WSU athletic department are in the midst of investigations into allegations of abuse levied by Marquess Wilson. Bill Moos spoke with Larry Scott on Saturday and got the ball rolling on an investigation. They've talked and the wheels are turning. Moos is also hopeful this will all be over with soon.

But as of Monday, Mike Leach and Jeff Tuel had yet to be interviewed, each said. So who knows what's going on at the moment. As we wait, though, here are a few questions about what comes next.

What does this investigation entail?

When I was in college, I went through an investigation similar to the one the football team will be going through. I wasn't being investigated, but was a point of contact. It should go without saying that these things aren't fun and are a pretty significant distraction. Even just as a regular college student, it consumed me for the duration of the process -- I was stepping out of class to answer phone calls and spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with those doing the investigating.

That should give context for why Bill Moos wants this whole process expedited. Typically, the investigators will speak with the primary stakeholders. They'll also speak to just about anybody affected, conducting interviews that can range from relatively short to rather extensive. I would assume Marquess Wilson, the coaching staff and many players on the team will be interviewed. Again, it's rather distracting: Each interview has to be scheduled around class and team activities -- all of which are numerous.

When it's all done, a report is typically created, then the principles have a chance to respond. Finally, whatever punishments are decided on -- or changes in policy -- are handed out.

For the duration of the investigation, a cloud tends to hang over your head. Even if you think you're right and have done nothing nefarious, the cloud lingers. It's nerve-wracking when investigators get to digging: You don't know what they're digging for or how things will be interpreted. Something that seems normal in one person's eyes may raise red flags in another.

So it makes sense that Moos wants the process to be done before the team travels to Tempe. And it also tells me that he's confident his program has done nothing wrong.

What happened in the locker room at halftime of the Utah game?

Many of the questions in the wake of allegations have centered around what happened in the locker room during the Utah game. Washington State was being blown out and by halftime tensions were high. I was told on Sunday that the halftime scene was intense and emotional. Coaches were imploring the players to show some heart, and doing so at a loud volume.

However, notions of a fight -- there had been rumors -- were never brought up. It wasn't a brawl or a royal rumble, from what I was told. This also matches up with what Elliott Bosch said on Monday during the weekly media availability.

"Coach Volero came up and had the O-Line and D-Line ... wanted to fire us up. He grabbed some guys by the chest plate and took a look in their eyes. He wanted to see if they wanted to win. That's all he was really doing."

I don't know how this will be interpreted, but it's not as though it's an uncommon event in a football locker room. If he was pushing and shoving, that'd probably be a problem. If the account Bosch provided is the end of it -- and that matches up with what I was told -- then I'm not sure it is.

What happened on the practice field the evening Marquess Wilson walked out?

The idea that something really bad happened on the Sunday after the Utah game, causing Wilson to leave, has been prevalent, and the attention has been focused on the practice he walked out of. However, it wasn't as if Wilson suddenly decided to leave because he was subjected to some undue punishment that Sunday. Remember, Wilson had considered quitting in the spring before being talked back. More likely: that practice was the final straw for him, the culmination of a long-term issue that'd been bubbling over.

Wilson wasn't alone on the field: Every player on the roster was participating in the conditioning session. It wasn't necessarily a secret, either -- WSU did announce practice would be canceled, instead holding the conditioning session. It didn't happen behind closed doors, taking place on Rogers Field.

What the practice entailed isn't a secret, either. A member of the media was there and saw it all -- Leach referenced him as an eyewitness on Monday.

I've been told the session was a conditioning circuit, of sorts. Players were broken up by position group and went through different stations of conditioning drills -- typical stuff they always do. Wilson left after about 15 minutes in a drill that consisted of pushups in sort of an up-down format. He took his stuff off and just walked off the field, and many players didn't realize he'd left until it was all over.

The rest of the team completed the session and, as far as I know, nobody walked away injured or scarred. Conditioning session are a part of football, and it's not uncommon for teams to go through grueling drills. They are, however, more mental than physical -- a test of mental strength and will more so than a test of endurance.

What's next?

Well, we wait. The investigations may very well be over by Friday. In that case, we'll get word of the findings and, hopefully, the matter will be done with. If Leach is found to have "abused" players, something he's categorically denied, there will be repercussions -- I don't know what those are, however. If he's not, we'll all go back to our lives.

As Jeff said, though, the allegations themselves have done damage. Minds have been made up and opinions have been formed, and I don't know if an investigation that clears the coaching staff will change anything. Expediting the process and having an investigation done while the allegations are fresh helps combat those opinions, so long as the team has cleared.

But everything is an unknown right now. We don't know what the investigations will uncover, nor do we know the full story. So be patient.