Central Michigan University has fired its gymnastics coach following an investigation into his conduct surrounding the handling of medical treatment for student-athletes.
CMU athletic director Richard Wyman confirmed that Jerry Reighard has been fired for repeated disregard for the independent role of medical staff in addressing student-athlete injuries.
According to Fox 66 in Flint, Mich., the latest incident involved Reighard asking a student to lie about, or cover up concussion symptoms. A 121-page investigation report from CMU Faculty Personnel Services cites “egregious misconduct” by Reighard in attempting to undermine the university’s concussion management plan.
The report also states that Reighard maintained a hostile atmosphere with medical staff which undermined CMU’s independent medical model that allows team physicians and athletic trainers authority to determine the management of injuries without interference from coaches.
A full statement from Wyman follows:
Central Michigan University has terminated the employment of gymnastics coach Jerry Reighard, following an investigation that confirmed repeated disregard for the independent role of medical staff in addressing student-athlete injuries.
The latest incident, in February, involved Reighard attempting to influence a student to lie about or cover up concussion symptoms. A 121-page investigation report from CMU Faculty Personnel Services cites “egregious misconduct” by Reighard in attempting to undermine the university’s concussion management plan.
The report states Reighard created a hostile atmosphere contradictory to CMU’s independent medical model, which gives team physicians and athletic trainers authority to determine the management of injuries without interference from coaches. The physicians and trainers have sole authority, for example, in deciding when student-athletes may return to play.
Michael Alford, associate vice president/director of athletics, said the findings describe situations that could lead to an NCAA violation. Athletics staff have been in contact with the NCAA and will cooperate fully in self-reporting the matters.
Alford said he expects all coaches and coaching staff members to uphold the policies, procedures and protocols that protect students’ safety and wellbeing.
“Our student-athletes and their families trust us to protect our students,” Alford said. “We will not tolerate a callous disregard of safety. We will not tolerate actions that put students in the way of significant and even life-threatening injuries. Student safety at Central Michigan University is an absolute priority, always.”
The investigation this spring involved two dozen interviews, including with current team members as well as the medical and athletic training staff. The final interview, with Reighard and his union representatives, occurred in late March. It had been delayed three weeks because one of the representatives was not available.
Reighard received the investigation report on April 3 and had two weeks to respond. His response has been received and reviewed. It did not change the termination decision.
Alford said he will conduct a national search for a new coach.”