U of I athletic director placed on indefinite leave

Athletic director Rob Spear will remain on indefinite leave, amidst an ongoing sexual misconduct investigation at the University of Idaho.

Thursday’s announcement is the latest chapter in a turbulent spring at the U of I.

Rob Spear

Spear was placed on 60 days’ leave in April, but the U of I’s student Senate has demanded his resignation.

On Friday, the State Board of Education and President Chuck Staben announced what was described as a mutual agreement; Staben will step down after the 2018-19 school year. Staben has said his departure has nothing to do with the sexual misconduct investigation.

Staben has been largely quiet since last week’s announcement, declining interview requests and outlining his position in a lengthy email to the university community. He broke his silence Thursday, somewhat, commenting on Spear’s status in a U of I news release.

“It is never easy to examine one’s own actions critically,” Staben said. “We know we have made improvements in how we approach sexual assault allegations but we need to know that we are doing all we can to keep our students safe. That is our number one priority.”

Spear’s status has been one of many points of contention at the U of I.

In a May 14 letter, 14 prominent U of I backers urged the State Board to get rid of Staben. Among their reasons: The boosters said Staben placed Spear on leave, without any evidence of wrongdoing.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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