October 18, 2012 in Sports

Idaho State coach under investigation for shoving player

From Staff And Wire Reports
 
FILE photo

Idaho State coach Mike Kramer is under investigation after a Bengals player accused him of pushing him down.
(Full-size photo)

Follow EWU and Big Sky football reporter Jim Allen on Twitter @srjimallen

Idaho State football head coach Mike Kramer is being investigated by police and the university for allegedly shoving a player to the ground two weeks ago in an incident caught on video.

The university and the Pocatello Police Department on Wednesday separately confirmed investigations. ESPN first reported the incident.

Senior wide receiver Derek Graves lodged a complaint with police on Sunday that he was pushed by Kramer during an Oct. 3 practice.

Don Jackson, Graves’ attorney in Montgomery, Ala., said Graves has suffered from neck and back spasms since the incident.

In the video, which was obtained by ESPN, Kramer runs toward a player on the field, puts his face close to his helmet, and then shoves him with two hands. The player falls backward to the turf, after which Kramer steps over his prone legs.

Graves used a separate recording device to make a copy of the video that he passed on to law enforcement officials, Jackson said. The attorney said his office was contacted by Graves’ family after they grew concerned about their son’s safety.

“The most basic concern is the fact that their son was physically assaulted on a college campus by his college football coach,” Jackson said Wednesday. “His coach’s conduct was unacceptable. It’s not acceptable for a college coach, or a coach at any level, to put his or her hands on a player in an aggressive way.”

Graves has caught 36 passes for 306 yards in four games this season. But Jackson said he missed games on Oct. 6 and last Saturday because of the injuries he suffered when he was pushed.

Lt. Paul Manning, a Pocatello police spokesman, said his department notified the university following Graves’ complaint.

University assistant athletic director Steve Schaack confirmed the school was looking into Kramer’s conduct, but said it was university policy not to comment on personnel matters.

Schaack said Kramer will coach Saturday when the Bengals (1-5) play at Northern Colorado.

“He will be on the sidelines,” Schaack said.

Idaho State declined to make Kramer available for an interview.

This isn’t the first time Kramer has been the subject of a player’s claim of physical aggression.

In 1995, Kramer, then head coach at Eastern Washington, was accused of slapping a player. Kramer denied it.

Before Kramer took the Idaho State job in 2010, he had been out of coaching for four seasons after being fired by Montana State in 2007 following at least five drug-related arrests of current or former players within a year.

Kramer later settled a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

Another game for Sac St.

Eastern Washington has the full attention of Sacramento State’s coaches and players, but not because the Eagles are ranked No. 1.

The Hornets have been making a little history of their own, getting off to their first 5-2 start in 20 years, which includes a current three-game winning streak and a victory earlier this season over Colorado of the Pac-12.

In other words, it’s just another game for the Hornets, who are also no strangers to winning in Cheney. Sacramento State is 4-5 all time in Cheney, and took the eventual FCS champion Eagles to the limit in a 28-24 loss two years ago at Roos Field.

“The mental game of how you approach games is similar with our coaches each week,” Hornets head coach Marshall Sperbeck said. “You have to get your team ready to play, and you focus so much on what your opponent does, you don’t have time to worry about other things.”

Seven games into the season, Sacramento State is still a bit of a mystery. The 5-2 mark has come against opponents with a combined record of 10-35, and the Hornets struggled at home to hold off winless Weber State 19-14. They also lost at home to North Dakota 35-13, a team Eastern defeated 55-17.

The rest of the Hornets’ schedule rates as the toughest in the FCS. The next four opponents – No. 1 Eastern Washington, No. 5 Montana State, No. 14 Cal Poly and arch rival UC Davis have a combined record of 20-6.

Homecoming for Adams

The Eagles’ game at Montana State was a homecoming for EWU wide receivers coach Junior Adams, a star receiver for the Bobcats from 2000 to 2002. As senior he caught 66 passes for 983 yards and eight touchdowns, none bigger than his TD catch in a 10-7 win at Montana that broke MSU’s 16-game losing streak against the Grizzlies.

“It was mentioned a few times last weekend,” Adams said. “I’ve always been thankful to be in the position to make that play, and what that meant to Bobcat Nation.

“Bozeman has always good to me,” said Adams, who also served as an assistant coach at MSU after graduation. “There were people I hadn’t seen in years. It was like I never left.”

Bobcat Stadium, however, has since been enlarged to almost 18,000 seats.

“They’ve come a long way,” Adams said. “As an alum, it’s great what’s happened to the program.”

Road warriors

It’s not supposed to be like this on the road. Traveling teams won four of the six conference games last weekend, with only Cal Poly and Sacramento State enjoying home victories. Through the first 24 conference games, road teams have won 15 for a winning percentage of .625. Last season, road teams went 17-19 in conference games. Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and Cal Poly are the only three teams who have yet to lose a home conference game. Montana has lost two conference games at home for the first time since 1990 when Eastern Washington and Idaho won at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Montana State lost a conference home game last weekend for the first time since 2010.  Saturday marked the first time since 1985 that both Montana and Montana State lost conference home games on the same day.

Extra points

Montana State QB DeNarius McGhee threw two TD passes on Saturday to become the school’s all-time leader. McGhee, who has thrown a TD pass in 33 straight games, has 61 in his career. … Idaho State QB Kevin Yost threw for 374 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in the loss to UC Davis. … ISU safety Phil Pleasant recorded a career-high 22 tackles in the loss. … Northern Colorado scored 28 points in a loss to Cal Poly. The 28 points tied the most the Bears have scored in a Big Sky game under Earnest Collins Jr.


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