POCATELLO, Idaho – Prosecutors in Idaho have decided not to file criminal charges against Idaho State football coach Mike Kramer after a player complained that the coach shoved him to the turf during practice.
Pocatello City Attorney Dean Tranmer called it a difficult decision but said Thursday that investigators didn't believe Kramer had any intention of harming wide receiver Derek Graves or committing a criminal act.
"It was an unfortunate occurrence, which Kramer apologized for to Graves and the entire team a short time after it happened," Tranmer said.
Tranmer said another factor was the 11 days that elapsed between when Graves was pushed on Oct. 3 and when he filed the police complaint, as well as the fact that Graves released videotape of the altercation to ESPN.
On the recording, Kramer is seen running across the field during practice, stopping in front of Graves and apparently yelling at him before shoving him. Graves took a few stumbling steps backward before falling down. Graves said he injured his neck in the fall.
Graves hasn't played since the confrontation and was suspended indefinitely last week for violating team rules. Graves said the letter he received said he had been late for practice.
During the investigation, Tranmer said a charging decision was delayed because he wanted detectives to interview assistant coaches and players who were present and that investigators had a difficult time obtaining Graves' medical records relating to the injury.
The Idaho State team doctor attested to Graves' injury in writing in a statement supporting a medical redshirt and has refused to clear him for competition, Graves' attorney, Donald Jackson of Montgomery, Ala., said Friday in an email to The Associated Press. He called the incident a "black eye on collegiate sports."
"It is unfortunate, though quite expected, that law enforcement and a prosecutor would fail to see criminal conduct in a videotaped two-handed shove by a gentleman that weighs in excess of 250 pounds against a college student that he has an obligation to protect and instruct," Jackson wrote. "An apology does not lessen the impact of this coach's conduct nor does it lessen the university's responsibility to protect its students from this type of conduct or minimize the degree of culpability by this perpetrator."
Tranmer said the case was one best resolved internally at ISU.
Idaho State suspended Kramer for the game against Montana on Oct. 27. However, Kramer was allowed to coach the team during the week leading up to the game. The Idaho State Journal reports Kramer was given permission to travel to Missoula, but he chose not to.
Kramer has not commented publicly on the situation.
Steve Schaack, ISU's assistant athletic director for media relations, said Thursday the school would not comment on city attorney's decision.
"As an athletic department, because it is a matter investigated by the Pocatello Police Department, all questions are deferred to them," he said.