Boise State QB fights dismissal via polygraph
After being sent home Friday from the team's bowl game in Hawaii, Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick is attempting to clear his name.
BOISE, Idaho -- Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick says he was unfairly dismissed by the team from participating in Tuesday's Hawaii Bowl, arguing he was falsely accused of urinating from a hotel balcony.
Southwick, a senior who was sent home Friday by interim coach Bob Gregory shortly after the team arrived in Hawaii, took a polygraph test after returning to Boise in his bid to prove his innocence, KTVB reported Sunday.
Initially, Southwick and backup quarterback Nick Patti were suspended for violating team rules, with the school not providing details of what happened. Patti was reinstated, but Southwick was taken to the airport, where he says he waited nine hours for his flight.
"It's really important for myself and my family to get this cleared up," Southwick said. "There was no process to properly adjudicate what happened. It's really disappointing that it had to come to this."
Southwick said the results of the polygraph indicate he was telling the truth: He witnessed another player urinate off the balcony but didn't do it himself.
"Really, this gives me a leg to stand on," he said of the polygraph, adding that he went to bed after the incident and learned the next morning at the team's breakfast that he'd been accused.
Boise State, however, issued a statement late Monday afternoon standing by the decision to dismiss Southwick.
"We investigated the matter with university administrators, coaching staff, a law enforcement official, hotel security and student-athletes," the statement said. "We made the decision to send the student-athlete home, and we stand by this difficult decision."
Southwick, who described the evening preceding the incident that led to his dismissal as one fueled by alcohol but didn't say whether he'd been drinking, declined during the television interview to name the player he says urinated from the balcony.
He said at least three other players testified against him. He maintained his innocence throughout, but coaches decided he should be dismissed, he told the TV station. Southwick acknowledged losing his temper after being accused.
He said he tried to contact Boise State administrators while waiting at the airport, but to no avail.
"They had to make a call, very quickly," Southwick said. "Unfortunately, they made the wrong one."
The dismissal puts an end to a difficult season for Southwick.
He missed most of five of the team's past six games after suffering a broken right ankle on the opening drive against Nevada on Oct. 19. He played on Boise State's first drive in a Dec. 1 game against New Mexico, leading the team to a touchdown.
The incident and Southwick's denial of involvement represent a challenge for a program that already is in transition. Longtime coach Chris Petersen left for Washington earlier this month after an 8-4 season, the Broncos' worst since he took over as head coach in 2006.
Arkansas State's Bryan Harsin has been hired to replace Petersen, but the Hawaii Bowl was seen as a chance for Gregory to elevate his profile.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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