Police investigate Idaho St. football coach Mike Kramer for allegedly shoving player to ground
In this Oct. 22, 2011, file photo, Idaho State coach Mike Kramer yells at an official after one of his players was hurt during during the first half of an NCAA college football game against BYU in Provo, Utah. Kramer is being investigated by police and the university following an Oct. 3 incident where he's accused of shoving a player to the ground. / File,AP Photo/George Frey
BOISE, Idaho Idaho State head football coach Mike Kramer is being investigated by police and the university for allegedly shoving a player to the ground two weeks ago in an incident caught on video.
The university and the Pocatello Police Department on Wednesday separately confirmed investigations. ESPN first reported the incident.
Senior wide receiver Derek Graves lodged a complaint with police on Sunday that he was pushed by Kramer during an Oct. 3 practice.
Don Jackson, Graves' attorney in Montgomery, Ala., said Graves has suffered from neck and back spasms since the incident.
In the video, which was obtained by ESPN, Kramer runs toward a player on the field, puts his face close to his helmet, and then shoves him with two hands. The player falls backward to the turf, after which Kramer steps over his prone legs.
"I've seen Kramer get in guys' faces and curse them, but never saw him do anything like this or put his hands on anyone," Graves told ESPN. "I was humiliated at the moment. If I retaliate, I could lose my senior season. If I didn't do anything, I would look like a punk. It was a no-win situation."
Graves used a separate recording device to make a copy of the video that he passed on to law enforcement officials, Jackson said. The attorney said his office was contacted by Graves' family after they grew concerned about their son's safety.
"The most basic concern is the fact that their son was physically assaulted on a college campus by his college football coach," Jackson said Wednesday. "His coach's conduct was unacceptable. It's not acceptable for a college coach, or a coach at any level, to put his or her hands on a player in an aggressive way."
Graves has caught 36 passes for 306 yards in four games this season. But Jackson said he missed games on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 because of the injuries he suffered when he was pushed.
Lt. Paul Manning, a Pocatello police spokesman, said his department notified the university following Graves' complaint.
University assistant athletic director Steve Schaack confirmed the school was looking into Kramer's conduct, but said it was university policy not to comment on personnel matters.
Schaack said Kramer will coach Saturday when the Bengals (1-5) play at Northern Colorado.
"He will be on the sidelines," Schaack said.
Idaho State declined to make Kramer available for an interview.
This isn't the first time Kramer has been the subject of a player's claim of physical aggression.
In 1995, Kramer, then head coach at Eastern Washington, was accused of slapping a player. Kramer denied it.
Before Kramer took the Idaho State job in 2010, he had been out of coaching for four seasons after being fired by Montana State in 2007 following at least five drug-related arrests of current or former players within a year.
Kramer later settled a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
Graves' attorney said it was premature to speculate on potential litigation against Idaho State or Kramer but said the school should have known its coach was volatile.
"Things like this don't happen without some type of advance warning," Jackson said. "Clearly, if they'd done a little bit of investigation into his background, they would have determined there was the potential for this kind of thing."
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