Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley has been suspended with pay by the university following the emergence of a 2013 text message in which Scalley used racist language.
In a statement released by Utah athletic director Mark Harlan, the program's top administrator denounced the use of any such language and announced an outside firm will be hired to further review the incident.
“In 2013 I made a terrible mistake,” Scalley said in his own statement released by the school. “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.”
Former Utah cornerback Ryan Lacy later tweeted allegations that Scalley previously directed a racial slur toward him:
Scalley was set to enter his 13th year as an assistant coach with the Utes and his fifth as defensive coordinator.
A former Utah player, Scalley was a captain on the 2004 team that went 12-0 with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Pittsburgh with Urban Meyer as head coach. Scalley returned to the team as a coach in 2006, serving under Kyle Whittingham, who was the team's defensive coordinator on Meyer's staff.
Scalley has served as defensive coordinator and safeties coach since 2016.
In 2013, at the time Scalley sent the text message, he also served as the team's recruiting coordinator.
“I was disappointed and shocked to learn this week of a text message sent by Morgan Scalley in 2013 that contained a racial slur," Whittingham said in a statement on Friday. "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.”
Utah finished the 2019 season ranked No. 16 in the country with an 11-3 record, going 8-1 in the Pac-12 before falling to Texas 38-10 in the Alamo Bowl.
There is currently no timeline for the investigation in Scalley's actions or an end date to his suspension. Scalley will not return to the team until the investigation has concluded, pending further punishment.