University of South Florida player Joel Miller said Wednesday night that allegations that he was inappropriately physically harmed by Coach Jim Leavitt at halftime of a November game are not true.
"I don't think anything should happen to him," Miller said. "Me and Coach Leavitt are fine. People can say different things but he only grabbed my shoulder pads to motivate me, because he's a passionate guy. He never apologized because he had nothing to apologize for"
USF is conducting an inquiry into allegations originally made by Joel Miller's father, Paul, in an online report. Paul Miller has backtracked from original comments that alluded to contact Leavitt allegedly made with his son's neck and face.
"I believe that my family's story was misrepresented," Joel Miller said. "I told this to the school when they interviewed me for a half-hour or hour on Tuesday. Basically, I wasn't having a good game on special teams and he tried to motivate me. He [Leavitt] never did any of those things and he never has that I've seen. I had some things on my mind because my Grandfather had died the day before. Coach Leavitt cares about me. We talk all the time."
Miller, a special teams contributor to the Bulls, said he practiced on Wednesday and plans to remain with USF.
"It's been real hard especially on my family," Miller said. "But my plan is to stay and play here."
Leavitt and Miller's father, who declined to comment Wednesday, all spoke with a member of the school's human resources department as well as an external expert on workplace relations.
A school spokesman said the plan is to complete a thorough inquiry as quickly as possible.