Idaho St. coach suspended for pushing player

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Updated: October 23, 2012

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Idaho State University has suspended football coach Mike Kramer for Saturday’s game against Montana for pushing one of his players to the ground in a recent practice.

The school also announced Tuesday that Kramer has been given a letter of reprimand for violating the university’s conduct policy.

Idaho State athletic director Jeff Tingey announced the decision following a university investigation of an allegation brought by senior wide receiver Derek Graves, who said Kramer pushed him to the ground during an Oct. 3 practice.

A video of the incident obtained by “Outside the Lines” shows Kramer trotting across the practice field before appearing to push Graves to the ground with a two-handed shove to the chest. The Pocatello Police Department told OTL on Tuesday that its investigation is ongoing.

Idaho State associate head coach Don Bailey will coach in place of Kramer on Saturday, according to a statement from the university. The school also said there would be no further comment on its investigation or Kramer’s suspension.

Graves told OTL last week that Kramer became irate when the receiver preferred to face one of the team’s veteran cornerbacks instead of a freshman cornerback during one-on-one drills in practice.

When Graves tried waving over one of the older cornerbacks to face him, he said Kramer marched across the field and said, “He’s a varsity f—— player” before pushing Graves. Graves said Kramer cursed again while he was on the ground.

Since the incident, Graves said, he has suffered from neck spasms and has not been cleared by the team’s medical staff to resume participating in practices or games. Graves had 36 receptions in Idaho State’s first four games, including back-to-back games with 15 catches. He has not played since.

Graves filed a police report with Pocatello police after his family retained Alabama attorney Don Jackson.

“This one-game suspension clearly indicates that Idaho State University has a tolerance for the physical abuse of student athletes,” Jackson said Tuesday. “The outcome of this investigation was a foregone conclusion and strongly indicative of a lack of institutional control. … A request will be made shortly to the NCAA for a closer look at the administration of this football program and the management of its employees.”

Kramer is in his second season at Idaho State. He was fired from his previous coaching job, at Montana State University, in 2007, after several former MSU players were arrested or charged with crimes involving drugs within a one-year span.

Kramer sued the university over his dismissal and later settled the lawsuit before it went to trial.

Steve Delsohn is a reporter for ESPN’s “Outside The Lines.”

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