Washington State junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson said Saturday he left the school’s football program earlier this week because of alleged abuse by the coaching staff.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to forgo playing football for Washington State University,” Wilson said in a statement. “I realize the school is saying that I am suspended for violating team policies and may return next week, but this is a lie. This is an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room.
“... the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program. My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not ‘tough love’. It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my drams(sic), my education and my pride.”
Wilson had been suspended from the team for unspecified reasons Monday, according to a Washington State spokesman. First-year coach Mike Leach gave no reason for the discipline. Several reports said Wilson had quit the team.
Washington State (2-7) had lost six consecutive games. It plays host to No. 18 BCS-ranked UCLA (7-2) on Saturday night.
Leach was forced out after 10 seasons at Texas Tech after allegations of abuse against a concussion victim.
Wilson, NFLDraftScout.com’s No. 17-rated wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft class and currently projected as a fourth-round pick, led the Cougars with 52 catches for 813 yards with five touchdowns.