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Ike Larsen questions Utah State’s future after coach Blake Anderson is fired
Ike Larsen questions Utah State’s future after coach Blake Anderson is fired

Chicago • Ike Larsen says he has been expelled from Utah State University.

The team’s star safety says the entire Aggie football team has not received any information about the termination of head coach Blake Anderson’s contract due to alleged non-compliance with the school’s Title IX policies.

In addition to Anderson, former assistant athletic director Jerry Bovee and director of player development Austin Albrecht were also fired for “violations of university policies related to reporting sexual and domestic violence and violations of professional duties.”

Last Tuesday, Larsen said he was asleep in bed when he received a call asking him to join a Zoom meeting. The team later learned Anderson was fired for Title IX violations. Since then, no player has been allowed to speak to his former head coach, the junior safety said.

Utah State named defensive coordinator Nate Dreiling as interim coach and also fired assistant athletic director for internal affairs Amy Crosbie on July 8, leaving Larsen even more shocked and angry.

“Honestly, I’m frustrated as hell,” Larsen said. “I’ve invested a lot in this program.

“It’s just the fact that we found out on a Tuesday morning and we didn’t even get a text the day before. It was like, ‘Hey, set up a meeting.’ It was just thrown at us in one day. We have no idea what’s going on. We obviously still have no idea. I can’t live with that. I’m going to be the one to say it, and if I get in trouble, I get in trouble.”

Anderson recently hired prominent college sports attorney Tom Mars of Rogers, Arkansas, to appeal his firing. Mars told The Salt Lake Tribune on July 8 that he plans to release Anderson’s termination letter and a summary of USU’s investigation before Tuesday, July 16, which is Anderson’s deadline to appeal his firing within a set 14-day window.

When asked if he was aware of the alleged misconduct in spring 2023, Larsen paused before admitting that he could not comment on it. From his point of view, all situations that have arisen since his time on the team have now been resolved.

“As far as we know, every situation that has come up has been resolved and taken care of,” Larsen said. “And if not, why hasn’t the issue been resolved in 2023? … That just baffles me. If it happened last year, you have to deal with it last year, not six weeks before the season.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Spencer Petras praised Anderson on Wednesday at the annual Mountain West Media Days. Petras transferred from Iowa to the Aggies in January because of the former Utah State head coach and reiterated – despite Anderson’s resignation – that he will not transfer again.

“The last thing we should do now is question our belief in ourselves or try to abandon ship,” Petras said. “We have too many good players for that.”

When asked if he or the team was acting as if Anderson would be reinstated in the future, Petras stated that he was unaware of the situation.

“I don’t know,” Petras said of Anderson’s possible reinstatement. “I take it day by day. That could be a question for (interim coach) Nate Dreiling or (athletic director Diane Sabau) or someone else.”

While Petras reiterated his commitment to the Aggies, Larsen is considering his future with the program. The only reason he didn’t transfer from USU this season was because of his relationship with his head coach, he said.

“S—, I’m going to be honest and not sugarcoat anything,” Larsen said. “I’m turning down money to stay here, and this is what’s happening.”

“I mean, you have to take that into account. … We could have a fantastic year, but they could also bring in a whole new coaching staff. That’s always difficult, so you have to take that into account. I’ve got two years left. Do I want to stay for one or two? There are a lot of things I’m still trying to figure out for my own well-being.”

By Isla