Just days after he was indefinitely suspended from the Washington State football team for violating unspecified team rules, star receiver Marquess Wilson announced Saturday he was leaving the Cougars.
Wilson also blasted first-year coach Mike Leach and his staff, accusing them of "abuse" while saying his suspension was "an attempt by the athletic department to cover up what is really happening in that locker room."
I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program.” -- Ex-Washington St. WR Marquess Wilson
"This was going to be our year. My teammates and I were aspiring to be the winning team you deserve," Wilson issued in a statement to Cougar Nation, according to the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta. "Unfortunately for all, the new coaching staff has destroyed that endeavor.
"I believe coaches have a chance to mold players, to shape men, to create greatness. However, the new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark shadow on this program."
Athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement that it was unfortunate Wilson quit.
"I believe I join many Cougars in wishing Marquess well in his future endeavors," Moos said. "We have procedures in place that were developed to monitor student-athlete welfare in all of our sports programs. We will continue to follow those procedures and modify them if needed."
Wilson, a junior who set the school's single-season receptions record last year with 82 catches for 1,388 yards, was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for an unspecified violation of team rules earlier this week.
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, however, reported that Wilson stormed out of a lengthy conditioning session Monday.
"My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long," Wilson said in the statement. "It is not 'tough love.' It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride.
"I thank my fellow teammates, those who also have left the program this year, and those we are leaving behind. I hope our departure will bring awareness to the physical, emotional and verbal abuse being allowed in the locker room and on the field. I pray for healing and recovery for all those who have been hurt by this treatment."
A 2011 All-Pac-12 second-team selection, Wilson had been the target of Leach's criticism for much of the season, and recently was demoted from his starting position despite leading the team in receiving. Wilson had caught 52 passes for 813 yards and five touchdowns this season.
His suspension came just days after Washington State was blown out 49-6 at Utah last Saturday for its sixth consecutive loss. Afterward, Leach complained that the effort of his players was "bordering on cowardice."
Washington State hired Leach late last year.
The coach had come off two years of spending time in Key West, doing TV work, and pursuing ongoing legal action related to his exit from Texas Tech, including lawsuits against the school, ESPN and former ESPN analyst Craig James.
Leach was fired by Texas Tech in December 2009 amid accusations disputed by Leach of mistreating James' son, Adam, who was a Texas Tech player at the time.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.