Brady Hoke, SDSU Agreed to Contract Raise amid Football Players' Rape Allegations

Adam WellsOctober 14, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UT- SEPTEMBER 17:  Brady Hoke head coach of the San Diego State Aztecs watches the field during the second half of their game against the Utah Utes September 17, 2022 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

San Diego State signed head football coach Brady Hoke to contract extension with a pay raise after three players on the team allegedly gang raped a 17-year-old girl.

Per USA Today's Josh Peter and Steve Berkowitz, Hoke signed his new deal in March, increasing his total pay by $100,000 more than he was previously scheduled to receive under his previous deal. He is now under contract until March 2027.

"The raise follows a standard, annual review and market comparison that is done at the end of each competitive year," State Diego State said in a statement to USA Today. "Each coach, across the 18 sports that San Diego State University Athletics offers, undergoes the same review process."

School officials did not respond to USA Today when asked if the allegations against Hoke's players factored into the contract decision.

In August, Colleen Shalby and Robert J. Lopez of the Los Angeles Times reported a civil lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior Court accused three current and former San Diego State football players of raping an underage girl at an off-campus party last year.

Matt Araiza, Zavier Leonard and Nowlin "Pa’a" Ewaliko were the players named in the lawsuit.

According to Shalby and Lopez, the lawsuit alleges the girl, who was a high school senior at the time, "went in and out of consciousness but remembers moments as the men took turns assaulting her."

Araiza, who was a sixth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in April, was "accused of having sex with the minor outside the home and then bringing her inside to a room where she was repeatedly raped."

The Bills released Araiza on Aug. 27. Ewaliko was not listed on San Diego State's 2022 roster after being on the team as a freshman in 2021. Leonard was removed from the roster in the wake of the allegations.

San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker told reporters on Aug. 29 the school became aware of a report of an off-campus sexual assault on Oct. 18, 2021, and a San Diego police investigation the following day.

According to Wicker, the school was asked to delay its own investigation by the San Diego Police Department to avoid potentially compromising the police investigation.

"SDPD asked us not to investigate. If we start asking questions you can tip someone off, and we're not going to investigate," Wicker said.

No arrests have been made related to the case.

Lopez and Shalby reported in June the university waited more than seven months to launch its own investigation about the alleged gang rape and did not alert the campus community to the allegations.

Hoke said on Aug. 29 he was "not aware" of a report made by student-athletes to San Diego State officials through the school's anonymous reporting system.

Wicker told reporters it was "absolutely not true" the school attempted to sweep the allegations under the rug.

"We will hold any student, any coach, any staff member to be held responsible for anything that's confirmed and adjudicated. It's absolutely not true that we swept this under the rug because it was football, because we were having a successful season. That is not who we are," Wicker added. "That is not who I am. That calls into question my morals and my ethics and, no, that's not true."

Hoke is in his second stint as San Diego State head football coach. He previously coached the team from 2009 to 2010 and returned to the program as a defensive line coach in 2019. The 63-year-old took over as head coach in January 2020 after Rocky Long retired.