October 1, 2018 / 5:53 AM / 2 months ago

UMass suspends coach for rape analogy

FILE PHOTO: Sep 1, 2018; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Massachusetts Minutemen head coach Mark Whipple on the sidelines during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

University of Massachusetts head football coach Mark Whipple was suspended without pay for one week by the school on Sunday, a day after he drew an analogy to rape while discussing a sequence in his team’s game.

On UMass’ radio broadcast after the Minutemen’s 58-42 loss at Ohio University, Whipple referred to a play on which he believed the Bobcats should have been flagged for pass interference, saying, “We had a chance there ... and they rape us, and (the referee) picks up the flag.”

Whipple was suspended for UMass’ home game this Saturday against South Florida, and he was ordered to undergo a sensitivity training program, the school announced.

Athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement, “On behalf of our department, I deeply apologize for the comments made by head coach Mark Whipple on Saturday after our game at Ohio. His reference to rape was highly inappropriate, insensitive and inexcusable under any circumstance. Coach Whipple’s comments don’t reflect the values of this institution, our athletics department or football program. Mark is disappointed in himself and understands his serious error in judgment.”

Whipple, 61, said in a statement released by the athletic department, “I am deeply sorry for the word I used on Saturday to describe a play in our game. It is unacceptable to make use of the word ‘rape’ in the way I did and I am very sorry for doing so. It represents a lack of responsibility on my part as the leader of this program and a member of this university’s community, and I am disappointed with myself that I made this comparison when commenting after our game.”

Whipple is in the fifth year of his second stint as UMass’ head coach. He guided the Minutemen to the 1998 NCAA Division I-AA championship in his first season at Amherst after he had been the head coach at the University of New Haven and Brown University.

He left UMass following the 2003 seasons and had stints on the staffs of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns in addition to time as the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami (Fla.).

Whipple owns a 135-99 record as a college head coach, including a 63-66 overall mark with UMass.

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