St. Lawrence Hires Firm to Investigate Program Following Allegations
St. Lawrence has hired an independent firm to investigate its own men's hockey program for potential "violations of NCAA rules or institutional policies," according to a memo distributed by school president William Fox.
According to Fox, he recommended the action to the Board of Trustees after the school received detailed complaints about head coach Mark Morris via email and through social media.
"The Board believes that the fairest and most effective way to address these questions is to conduct an independent investigation," Fox said in the memo.
According to CHN sources, the potential NCAA violations are based upon charges that Morris ran practices and video sessions longer than proscribed NCAA-allowed times and more than the allowed days per week. The perhaps more explosive allegations revolve around threats towards players, verbal and mental abuse, and forcing players to play with injury.
None of the allegations have been substantiated.
The law firm of Bond, Schoeneck and King, PLLC, and its Collegiate Sports Practice Group will conduct a review of the allegations. The group is led by Rick Evrard, a senior member of the firm, who has vast experience handling NCAA matters, with past clients like Baylor, North Carolina, Tulane, Kansas and Rutgers. The firm has offices around the country, but Evrard is based out of Overland Park, Kansas.
"The firm has been charged with performing a complete, unbiased and thorough investigation to determine whether any NCAA rules or institutional policies have been violated," Fox said. "The University's top priority is to protect the health and welfare of our students. The Board's Chair and its Audit Committee chair will receive a full report of the facts and will recommend appropriate action if needed."
St. Lawrence is currently 1-12-1 overall, and has been playing with a short roster due to numerous injuries and players that left the program in the offseason.
Morris, a native of the area and one-time assistant at St. Lawrence, is in his second year on the job. He was the head coach at Clarkson for 14 years from 1988-2002, going to nine NCAA tournaments and one Frozen Four. He was fired early in the 2002-03 season after allegations of a physical altercation with a player during a practice. The player and his family threatened to sue, and Morris later sued Clarkson for wrongful termination, a case that was eventually settled.
Morris, 59, went on to a relatively successful pro coaching career before getting the chance to return to college hockey in 2016.