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Utah State informs football coach Blake Anderson he is being fired for cause following Title IX review

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football coach Blake Anderson was terminated without notice Tuesday following an outside review of allegations that he failed to follow Title IX guidelines for reporting sexual misconduct cases.

Nate Dreiling, who previously served as Utah State's defensive coordinator and defensive ends coach, will serve as interim coach next season. Athletic Director Diana Sabau met with players and staff on Tuesday to inform them of the move, the university announced in a press release.

Utah State also announced that assistant vice president and assistant athletic director for external relations Jerry Bovee and football director of player development and community Austin Albrecht were fired “due to violations of university policies related to reporting sexual and domestic violence and violations of professional duties.”

Bovee served as Utah State's interim athletic director in 2023. Utah State said Anderson would be fired for actions that occurred in the spring of 2023.

The state of Utah noted that Title IX policies “require full and timely reporting of cases of sexual misconduct, including domestic violence, and prohibit employees from investigating cases of sexual misconduct themselves.”

“As leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that allegations of violations of USU policies are investigated,” Sabau and Utah State President Elizabeth Cantwell said in an email to faculty and staff. “Today's actions are the result of a thorough external investigation, and we believe the evidence requires immediate action. Our job is to fearlessly hold ourselves and others accountable for their conduct and ensure that we live the values ​​of our university for the benefit of our students and our community.”

“We recognize the impact these decisions will have on our student-athletes and our football program, but we will continue to take the necessary steps to create a respectful, transparent and successful culture at Utah State University.”

School officials noted that Anderson has 14 days to respond to the university's decision under his employment contract. School officials said they could not release any further information until all opportunities to respond or appeal the decision have expired.

Anderson's attorney, Tom Mars, said there was no reason for the state of Utah to fire Anderson for cause.

“Like any university, Utah State could fire Blake Anderson for any reason as long as it paid his severance,” Mars said. “However, given the facts alleged and the language in Blake's employment agreement, USU will have a difficult time trying to fire him for cause just to avoid having to pay Blake what he is owed.”

“Defrauding a head coach by blaming him for the alleged negligence of his boss is a novel approach that has never been tried before. But this theory will never hold up in court.”

Anderson posted a record of 23-17 in three seasons at Utah State, with the Aggies reaching bowl games each of those years. He went 11-3 in 2021 before going 6-7 each of the last two years.

He came to Utah State after compiling a 51-37 record at Arkansas State from 2014 to 2020. He took time off before the 2019 season, shortly before his wife, Wendy Anderson, passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer. He returned for the second game of the season and helped Arkansas State to an 8-5 record.