Dad Suddenly Backtracks On Leavitt Abuse Claim

Greg Auman of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES has a strange follow to a report by Brett McMurphy of AOL FANHOUSE that five witnesses claimed USF football coach Jim Leavitt struck Bulls player Joel Miller twice in the team’s locker room at halftime of USF’s game against Louisville on Nov. 21.

Jim Leavitt Grabs USF Player's Facemask

“I’m appalled at it,” Leavitt said (in a denial of the charge) Monday afternoon. “It’s absolutely not true. It’s so wrong. It’s so far out there. I’m very disappointed something like this would be written.”

In contrast to the report, Miller’s father, Paul, in a conversation Monday with the Times, said he does not think his son was so much as slapped and said the incident has been overexaggerated. “I stand behind the university and Coach Leavitt 100 percent,” Paul Miller said. “I truly believe there was no malicious intent to hit anyone. He grabbed his shoulder pad, but it was like a motivational thing. After talking with Joel, he was satisfied there was not a slap, not at all.”

What the hell? That certainly wasn’t the tone of Joel Miller’s father in the AOL report. Paul Miller said of Leavitt, among other things:

“You do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail,” Paul Miller, Joel’s father and a former Tampa police officer, told FanHouse. “Somewhere [Leavitt] crossed the line.”

Auman did not note Paul Miller’s earlier comments in the AOL Fanhouse piece nor the reason for Miller’s profound change of tone about Leavitt.

Because of the gravity of the charges coming from reportedly five team members and two coaches, I can’t believe this situation will be put to bed so easily. If the people who are running the school are responsible individuals, they will launch an investigation into what’s really going on.

I might have a different attitude if Leavitt didn’t have the reputation of being such an “intense” coach who has been seen before imposing his physical will on players on the sideline and reportedly in the locker room.

There’s a chance this coach is a time bomb waiting to go off, and there needs to be an inquiry into his methods.