Robin Pflugrad Fired: Proper Reporting Of Rape Allegations Are At Issue

The University of Montana recently fired athletic director Jim O'Day and head football coach Robin Pflugrad right in the middle of spring football drills amid increased scrutiny over how sexual assault allegations involving Montana football players were handled. University President Royce Engstrom released a statement on Thursday afternoon that revealed very little about the situation and merely offered that Montana has "determined not to renew the contracts" of O'Day and Pflugrad, but now more details are emerging.

On March 9, quarterback Jordan Johnson had a temporary restraining order taken out against him by a University of Montana student alleging he had sexually assaulted her. As explained by Fritz Neighbor of the Missoulian, the restraining order has since been dismissed and Johnson has been on the practice field this spring, but a civil no-contact agreement between Johnson and the alleged victim is still in place.


Related: Montana Fires Coach Robin Pflugrad, AD Jim O'Day

Fritz Neighbor of the Missoulian offers some details on exactly why Pflugrad has come under fire, and why he believes he "did the right thing" at the time:

Allegations of rape involving several athletes surfaced late last season, leading to an independent investigation by former Montana Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz.

Barz reported that nine sexual assaults involving UM students had been investigated, including a December 2010 incident in which two women alleged they were drugged and gang raped by members of the football team.

Barz said that Pflugrad did not properly report that incident to university officials; in mid-March, Engstrom was asked if Pflugrad would face punishment for that and replied: "We have not taken up that matter at this time."

Pflugrad defended his actions in December 2010.

"With the information I had at that particular moment in time - I did the right thing with the information I had," he said. "And that was told to me by the Missoula Police Department. I was told I did an admirable job not only with my discussion with all those players, but my disciplinary process."

Pflugrad had just finished his third year with the Grizzlies, and his second year as head coach of the football program. In 2012, the Grizzlies reached the semifinals of the NCAA FCS Tournament. O'Day had been the athletic director since June 2005.

For more on this situation, stay with SB Nation Denver's StoryStream.

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