Texas Tech football: Lawsuit claims Matt Wells ignored rape allegations at Utah State

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 1: Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies talking with his team during second half action against the Boise State Broncos on October 1, 2016 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 21-10. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 1: Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies talking with his team during second half action against the Boise State Broncos on October 1, 2016 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 21-10. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images) /

Several women have come forth claiming that current Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells mishandled allegations of rape against one of his players while at Utah State.

Troubling allegations against Matt Wells from his time as head coach at Utah State have come to light.  According to an article by Olivia Messer of The Daily Beast, a news and opinion website, more than one woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that the current Texas Tech football head coach and the Utah State athletic department did not fully investigate or properly handle allegations of rape made against former Utah State football player Torrey Green.

"In her piece, Messer writes, “In January 2016, the head coach of the football team [Wells] allegedly documented a meeting with Green to discuss the allegations. After that conversation, Green was ‘permitted to remain a student at Utah State and to finish his football career, playing in all thirteen games his senior season’ and graduated in May after signing an NFL contract. He was never disciplined or removed from campus, according to the lawsuit.”"

It must be pointed out that Green’s senior season was the 2015 campaign, which means when the above meeting with Wells took place, Green was out of eligibility and not technically a football player in Wells’ program.  However, one must wonder if Wells was aware of the accusations against Green prior to that January 2016 meeting.

In March, the 26-year-old Green was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for the sexual assault of six women.  Each of the crimes was committed between 2013-15 when Wells was the head coach of the Aggies.

The woman Messer discusses in her report, known as “Alison” to protect her identity, is the third female victim of Green’s to bring a lawsuit against Utah State.  The allegations made against the leadership at Utah State are wide-ranging and will remind fans of the controversy that eventually brought down former Baylor head coach Art Briles in 2016.

The difference is that the allegations against Wells are centered around his time in Logan, Utah, not Lubbock. Therefore, it leaves open a debate about what course of action, if any, Texas Tech should take.

This issue involves both a legal and a moral perspective and the two could be in direct conflict.  Legally, is there cause for Texas Tech to act against an employee for a situation that happened at his previous school when he was not under contract with Tech?  Though I am far from an attorney, it wouldn’t seem like these charges against Wells, if true, are not a violation of his contract with Tech unless there is some clause in his deal to guard against such a situation.

However, there is a moral component that must be considered as well.  Again, if the allegations against Wells have merit, the leadership at Tech will have to decide if they are willing to trust a man with such egregious missteps in his career to be the man they want leading their football program.

As of this moment, there has been no comment from Texas Tech or Wells.  I would love to give them an opportunity to respond but as nothing but a friendly neighborhood blogger, I don’t have the access needed to request such a statement.  Until Wells or the university speak on this issue, all we have to go on are the lawsuits filed by Green’s victims.

Meanwhile, Utah State officials have commented on the lawsuit as well as the crimes committed by Green.

More from Wreck'Em Red

"According to a November 5th article by Annie Knox of The Desert News: “Torrey Green had many victims both at USU and in the community, and the university would like to assist USU students who were victims to reach closure,” university spokesman Tim Vitale said in a statement. “USU has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the Torrey Green case, and we are continuing to address those universitywide systemic problems.”“This lawsuit, however, as filed, relies on countless incorrect assumptions, misrepresents how universities are able to address sexual assaults, and contains a number of outright factual errors and multiple timeline errors,” Vitale continued."

Regardless of what the truth may be, Texas Tech and Matt Wells need to be proactive and speak on this matter publically.  Given how secrecy and lies are at the heart of so many sexual assault crimes, everyone must act in the opposite manner when trying to drive this type of abhorrent behavior out of our society.

We don’t know if Matt Wells was guilty of or complicit in any wrongdoings at Utah State.  We know nothing more than what we’ve learned in these two news reports.

We must assume innocence until guilt is proven, as radical as that notion may be in 2019.  However, this is an awful look for a program that will have a player starting at QB on Saturday who was himself the subject of a Title IX investigation in 2016.

"“…a Texas Tech Title IX hearing panel sided with a woman who alleges Jett Duffey had sex with her twice when she was too incapacitated to consent, according to a disposition letter provided to A-J Media following an open records request in January,” wrote Sarah Rafique of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal in April of 2017."

Rafique later points out that a grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to bring charges against Duffey but for many in the court of public opinion, he is guilty of enough to justify the loss of his place on the Texas Tech football team.  Others, meanwhile support the junior and feel like the two-semester suspension from the university, which he served in 2017, was fitting.

This is a sensitive matter.  In such weighty issues as this, it has become ever more difficult to maintain a balanced stance in a world that immediately expects everyone to pick sides immediately.  That’s not what we are here to do.

Rather, this is an issue that Texas Tech fans must be aware of and educate themselves on.  Since his arrival last December, Wells has done nothing but represent himself and the university with class and he’s won over many fans in the process.

Next. Tech football completes 2019 schedule. dark

Here’s hoping that he did and will always continue to put the well-being and the needs of his university’s entire student body and community before all else.  That’s because, if there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that sports should always take a back seat to the health and safety of anyone and everyone.