Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pellum: Cougars coaches treated him unfairly

PULLMAN – Romeo Pellum wants to set the record straight.

Though the former Washington State University defensive back admits he left the Cougars’ program this spring because he had been “indefinitely suspended” and reinstatement didn’t look likely, he wasn’t dismissed.

He left, he said, because he wasn’t being treated fairly and he didn’t want anything more to do “with Paul Wulff’s program.”

The decision to leave was his, Pellum added, and he was given his release and a letter of recommendation from Wulff and cornerbacks coach Jody Sears.

Wulff, for his part, would not go into depth about Pellum’s situation, saying Pellum’s departure was a mutual decision and that he was doing everything he could to make it easier for Pellum to find another place to play.

“We agreed that it was in his best interest and our best interest that he find another place to play,” the coach said.

The April 28 letter of recommendation, which Pellum supplied, calls Pellum “hard working, punctual and accountable when it came to practices and meetings.” It states Pellum has grown as a young man “on and off the field,” in the 13 months he was coached by Wulff’s staff, and lists his football attributes.

Pellum said he was suspended before spring practice along with four others, after the coaching staff learned of thefts that eventually led Pellum, Kevin Frank and Tyrone Aire Justin to be charged with felony burglary counts in Whitman County. The other two players Pellum referred to but wouldn’t name were never identified or charged with any crime.

Pellum, Justin and Frank have a court date July 31, with Justin and Pellum scheduled to start trial on Aug. 17, according to the Whitman County prosecutor’s office.

Pellum is charged with two counts of residential burglary, a class B felony in Washington State, and two counts of second-degree theft, a class C felony. Frank is charged with one count of both while Justin’s charge is second-degree possession of stolen property, a class C felony.

Maximum sentences for class B felonies are 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine while class C felonies carry a maximum of 5 years and $10,000.

Justin has been reinstated to the team and Frank transferred.

Pellum said it was how the punishment was handled that led to his decision to transfer.

“It was a real unfair situation,” he said. “You have five backs, four get reinstated on the team and one is still suspended for the remainder of the spring. Has to work out alone. It was a real unfair situation. I didn’t feel like I could trust the coaches at that point.

“Even with me still being on the team I would have still transferred. I didn’t want to play there at all after everything happened. I just wanted to go somewhere new, get a fresh start with new coaches I could trust, teammates I could trust.”

Pellum is home in California and said he will be attending a school in the East this fall, though he declined to identify it.

“I don’t want to say right now,” Pellum said of his new school. “I start camp Aug. 10.”