Eastern Washington University football player Antonio Morgan has accused head coach Mike Kramer of slapping Morgan’s face during an argument, and a campus investigation is under way that will ultimately determine whether an assault charge will be filed.
Kramer has denied Morgan’s charge.
Morgan, a reserve wide receiver and running back as a junior last season, filed a complaint with campus police after the incident that allegedly happened while the two were alone Thursday afternoon in Kramer’s office.
“There were discussions relative to Morgan’s continuation on the football team, as far as we understand,” said Ron Sperber, director of public safety at the Cheney campus. “I guess there was a heated discussion, and Morgan made a complaint that he was slapped by Kramer.”
Sperber’s investigation, which he said entails compiling statements from five people connected to the case, should be completed sometime this week.
“And then we will send those to the Spokane County prosecutor’s office for whatever they think appropriate in the matter,” Sperber said.
Morgan has been dismissed from the team for academic reasons and violation of team rules, Eastern athletic director John Johnson said. Academic information is confidential, and no one at the university would specify which team rules were allegedly violated.
A source within the university confirmed statements have been taken by Sperber’s office from graduate assistant coaches Steve Amrine and Randy Hanson and freshman running back Rex Prescott, in addition to Kramer and Morgan.
Amrine and Hanson were in Kramer’s office until Morgan came to visit Thursday, Morgan said, adding that the two were in the hallway outside the closed office door when the incident allegedly took place. Sperber confirmed the presence of two assistant coaches, but wouldn’t name names.
Morgan said Kramer had named Morgan as being a bad influence on Prescott early last week. Prescott declined to comment.
“My name was mentioned, so I went up there (to Kramer’s office) to see where me and him stood,” Morgan said Saturday. “So I went up there, and he just started egotrippin’. And he was just getting madder and madder, and then, I guess, when I tried to say something, he was insulted or something.
“So, I guess it just caused him to slap me, you know, because he was like flexing his authority, man.”
Kramer strongly denied slapping Morgan, although both parties acknowledge Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m going to give you the party line,” Kramer said. “I’m going to vehemently deny any of the allegations made - totally - by Antonio.
“I’m not really at liberty to discuss any of the details. I mean, I’ve consulted people at the university as a result of an incident in my office and was surprised to find that I was being subsequently charged with assault.”
Kramer hasn’t been charged with any crime.The incident comes while Kramer and his coaching staff are busy coordinating recruiting visits, and some prospects are already on campus. Sports information director Dave Cook called it Eastern’s busiest recruiting weekend.Morgan, a 1991 graduate of Rainier Beach High in Seattle, also attended Bakersfield College in California. He played in eight games last season, catching 10 passes for 150 yards and returning 11 kickoffs for 192 yards. He was injured against Montana State and missed the rest of the season.
“I want an apology,” Morgan said. “I want (Kramer) to tell the truth, what happened, and just admit it. And if he admits that, then I’ll be cool.”