OGDEN -- Weber State University police say a theft investigation into a former WSU football graduate assistant coach has been referred to the Ogden City attorney's office to decide if the case will be pursued further.
Campus Police Chief Dane LeBlanc said his department also investigated a former football player's claims that Weber State football coach Jody Sears pressured him to drop the case against the grad assistant and found Sears did not break the law.
The grad assistant, Clint McMillan, was fired after he was alleged to have taken a football player's iPod from the team locker room at Stewart Stadium during a spring scrimmage. McMillan returned the iPod to Sears after the player, Jeff Gueck, presented evidence from an online app that McMillan had changed the name on the iPod.
Gueck has since transferred from Weber State. He initially asked WSU police to close the case in early April while he was still with the team, then asked them to reopen it July 31.
LeBlanc said in addition to investigating the theft of the iPod, Gueck asked them to look into Sears' actions after he reported to the coaching staff that McMillan had the iPod.
"We thoroughly investigated that. It would have been obstruction of justice, but it's completely unfounded and even our last interview with Jeffrey, he agreed with us in that fact that it was unfounded; it is not obstruction of justice," LeBlanc said. "Through our investigation it was clear to us, and even Jeffrey admitted, 'All I ever wanted in the beginning was to get my iPod back,' " LeBlanc said. "If you look at the elements of obstruction of justice they were just not there."
Sears held a private meeting with the team after he fired McMillan. Gueck has said he felt he could lose his scholarship if he didn't keep the incident quiet.
"The conversations coach Sears was having with them was more in the line of keeping the incident in-house," LeBlanc said. "How he handled that needs to be addressed by Jody and (Weber State athletics director) Jerry (Bovee). All I did was look at the criminal aspect of it and there was no obstruction of justice. He (Gueck) was not told he couldn't file a police report; he was not threatened if he filed a police report."
The investigation into McMillan is still active, though WSU police have not been able to locate him, LeBlanc said.
"I think Jeffrey, at the end of our conversation with him, what he was most frustrated was by the fact that he didn't feel justice was served to Clint McMillan," LeBlanc said. "He feels like Clint McMillan left his job, it was done quietly and he just didn't feel like justice was served. He felt like coach McMillan should have been charged (in April) and he wasn't."
Gueck said this week he was treated fairly by Weber State police, who he said told him it didn't meet requirements for obstruction of justice but he had the option of sending it to the city attorney for review if he wanted to pursue it further.
"I didn't want to do that because I'm not really after getting coach Sears or anything like that. I just wanted what is right to happen," he said. "It's about Clint and my iPod being stolen."
Sears said he was going to support Gueck 100 percent in however he chose to pursue the case against McMillan.
"I'm going to do the right thing," Sears said. "I'm going to be honest, I'm going to protect my program and by no means am I going to throw any of my kids, whether that be current players or former players, under the bus. I'm going to let the facts speak for themselves."
Sears said, as a first-time head coach, he went out of his way to follow protocol.
"We're trying to do the right thing here," Sears said. "I'm gonna try -- no, I'm not gonna try, I'm going to follow the process, follow the chain of command and I'm going to do everything I possibly can not to throw any of my guys under the bus. I want to take each situation in this whole program and teach these men how to do the right thing, how to make the right choices. There's a proper protocol for every matter and as coaches, we've got to take each individual scenario and use it as a teachable moment. From the get-go, that's what we were all about here. There was never any intent, any intimidation or anything like that at all. . . . I emphatically, directly, never did threaten anybody's scholarship at all and nor would I ever do that. I'm not that kind of person."