Washington State coach Mike Leach expressed anger and distrust in the Pac-12's commitment to player safety in a series of text messages he exchanged with conference officials last month, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports via a public records request.
Leach's text messages to the Pac-12 came in the wake of controversial noncalls for targeting by USC linebacker Porter Gustin on Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew and Washington State linebacker Logan Tago on Trojans quarterback JT Daniels during USC's 39-36 win Sept. 21.
Several of the texts were aimed at Pac-12 general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs Woodie Dixon, who was at the center of a Yahoo Sports report last week that stated the conference's leadership has influenced decision-making during the replay process of football games. According to the report, a "third party" "did not agree" with the booth and the command center's decision to call targeting against Tago in the game, resulting in targeting not being called.
That report led Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott to acknowledge mistakes were made in the replay-review procedure and announce an immediate change that will prevent any real-time involvement from conference leadership moving forward.
Leach blasted Dixon in one of his texts, sent four days after the loss to the Trojans, writing: "Woodie is a total coward and is afraid of USC. I look forward to telling him in person."
In another text, which Leach sent to Dixon, he criticized the Pac-12's commitment to player safety in the wake of the helmet-to-helmet hit by Gustin. "Don't ever waste my time, making me sit through some sanctimonious speech or demonstration on player safety or targeting if you are going to continue to alibi what happened last Friday," Leach wrote in his text.
Leach also sent a text to Scott, writing, "The Pac-12 cannot say with any credibility, that they are actually trying to protect student athletes."
In a text sent that same week to Dixon, Leach referenced a controversial 2015 game with Stanford and accused Dixon of calling Washington State staff in the press box and making them quiet the noise from the band because it was "playing too loud."
"Why can't I help wondering, if you're trying to manipulate wins and losses?" Leach wrote to Dixon.
Dixon responded, "Mike don't ever again accuse [me] of manipulating wins and losses. Please show this text to your AD and have him give me a call."
Leach wrote back to Dixon, "I didn't accuse you of anything. I suggest that you get on sorting out those rules that I pointed out. After all, that is your job."
The Pac-12 issued a statement to Yahoo Sports late Friday regarding Leach's text messages.
"While we do not comment on private communications with coaches, if there is ever a serious allegation of any kind from a coach we follow up and discuss the matter with the relevant university athletic department and provide them with an opportunity to request an inquiry into the matter," the conference said in its statement. "No such request has been received from Washington State University."
Leach and Washington State host No. 12 Oregon on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.