The University of Utah suspended defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley indefinitely on Friday while launching an investigation into a racist text message he sent seven years ago.
Utah athletics director Mark Harlan announced the move on Twitter, adding that the investigation will seek to discover if the text was "an isolated incident." In 2013, Scalley was the Utes' safeties coach and recruiting coordinator. He has been the team's defensive coordinator since 2016.
Harlan wrote, in part, "Coach Scalley and I have spoken. He is very contrite and acknowledged that the text was sent and that it did include a derogatory and painful word.
"The use of any form of racist language is not only antithetical to our policies and our values, but it is an affront to all of us, especially our African-American community members."
Scalley said in a statement issued by the university, "In 2013 I made a terrible mistake. I used a racial slur in a text message. This language is offensive and hurtful to not only the African-American community, but to all. Immediately after sending it, I apologized to the recipient and his family. I am also heartbroken over the potential breach of trust with my fellow coaches, and with the young men in our program, both past and present."
Utes coach Kyle Whittingham added in a statement, "I was disappointed and shocked to learn this week of a text message sent by Morgan Scalley in 2013 that contained a racial slur. I take very seriously the hurt, pain and anger felt by African-Americans, and the power of words to inflict or deepen that pain.
"Although this incident is inconsistent with the character and conduct of the person I have known and worked closely with for more than two decades, Morgan's use of racist language is a very serious matter and I am supportive of the suspension while a more thorough outside review is conducted."
Last season, Scalley was one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in the country. The Utes allowed 269.2 total yards per game in 2019, second in the nation behind Ohio State's 259.7, and Utah rated sixth in scoring defense at 15 points per game allowed.
Joe Brady, LSU's passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach, won the Broyles Award.
Scalley, a former Utah All-America safety, joined the program's coaching staff in 2006 as an administrative assistant. He was elevated to a graduate assistant the next year. Scalley became the safeties coach in 2008, and he has maintained that role ever since, adding the recruiting coordinator title from 2009-15 and the special teams coordinator title in 2015.
Scalley played for the Utes from 2001-04. He was honored as the Mountain West co-Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, when Utah finished 12-0, beating Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl to finish ranked No. 4 in the nation.
--Field Level Media