| USA TODAY
A former Penn State football player claimed that head coach James Franklin told him not to speak with authorities about a fight he had with linebacker Micah Parsons in 2018 in order to protect Parsons, according to a school report obtained by ESPN.
Accusations from ex-Nittany Lion Isaiah Humphries were included in a report within a 2019 Title IX inquiry into sexual assault allegations against Penn State, which was made public when Humphries sued the school earlier this year.
According to ESPN, Humphries told investigators that the fight in March 2018 involved punching, choking and a knife being pulled. Humphries claimed he later met with Franklin, who told him not to go to the police. Per ESPN, the investigator wrote in the report: “Mr. Humphries added that Coach Franklin came and said, ‘Don’t talk to the police because Micah is his start [sic] player and makes money, so if he gets in trouble, he’s gone,’ meaning Mr. Humphries would be gone.”
In a statement emailed to USA TODAY Sports on Friday, Penn State said “the claims relating to Coach Franklin have no merit” and that the school would continue to defend Franklin “vigorously.”
“Penn State diligently works to foster a community of safety and security for its students and student-athletes, so that they may participate freely in the academic and athletic opportunities the University offers,” the statement read. “We’re disappointed that ESPN has chosen to rehash a series of allegations that have remained unsubstantiated despite being investigated thoroughly through the University’s established processes for responding to claims of misconduct and by the Penn State police.”
“Coach Franklin never instructed Mr. Humphries to avoid contacting authorities,” the statement continued. “The court has twice rejected Mr. Humphries’ complaints, and despite his continued revisions, previously dismissed the claims against Coach Franklin in their entirety.”
Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.