Columbia football coach Pete Mangurian has resigned amid growing complaints from players over his allegedly abusive behavior and his downplaying of possible concussions and other injuries, according to published reports.
The university said Friday that Mangurian resigned "because we have all come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of Columbia Athletics," said president Lee C. Bollinger.
The school newspaper, The Columbia Spectator, reported that 25 players sent a letter to Bollinger earlier in the week alleging that Mangurian pressured players to play with concussions, imposed "drastic and unrealistic" weight regimens, and verbally abused them.
The letter, which was later withdrawn, stated: "Pete Mangurian has consistently denied the diagnoses of concussions. There are several players who will speak to the fact that Mangurian told them to return to practice, that they are faking their concussions, and that they are being soft if they sit out for their concussion injury."
A statement from the university said that it "routinely reviews complaints and concerns raised by students, even those that have been withdrawn."
"While we don’t generally comment on specific cases under review, it is essential to note that Columbia adheres to a strict medical protocol regarding head injuries for all sports teams and our investigation has found no evidence to support an allegation of a departure from that protocol with our football players," the university said.
The team is in the midst of a 21-game losing streak, and Mangurian has been heavily criticized by unhappy alumni, according to the Spectator.
Mangurian, who worked under New England Patriots coach Bill Belichik, did not respond to the Spectator's request for comments.