Howard places coach Ron Prince on leave amid investigation into abuse allegations

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Ron Prince was placed on leave Wednesday amid an investigation into his football program after abuse allegations surfaced.
Ron Prince was placed on leave Wednesday amid an investigation into his football program after abuse allegations surfaced. (AP/Julio Cortez)

Howard football coach Ron Prince was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday after accusations of abusive behavior surfaced from at least one parent of a player, according to the Washington Post.

Prince is in his first season at Howard, and has compiled just a 1-8 record — including a massive 79-0 loss to Maryland to start the season. Aaron Kelton, the director of football operations, will serve as the interim coach. An internal investigation is currently ongoing.

“[Howard is] committed to completing our internal investigation of allegations involving concerns about the football program,” athletic director Kery Davis said in a statement, via the Washington Post.

“Howard University is committed to ensuring our athletic programs reflect Howard’s core mission and values, and to ensuring the well-being and success of all student athletes.”

HBCU Gameday — a website covering athletics at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) — published a letter last month that it said a parent of a football player sent to Davis, Howard president Wayne Frederick, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the NCAA in September. In that letter, the anonymous parent said that Prince “has been threatening, hostile, abusive and disrespectful” toward his players.

“Athletes are terrified of this man, he tells them they are garbage and to transfer,” the parent wrote, via HBCU Gameday. “Most of these young men are scared to report the abuse out of fear and retaliation … To call them cowards and threatening FBI investigations for point shaving and telling a player that he is going to federal prison and placing blame on the team when you lose 79-0 is unacceptable.”

The parent also alleges that Prince has sent injured players home without treatment and publicly ridiculed and alienated them, forced his players to attend church, and asked the team if anyone was gay.

Many Howard players have transferred away from the program already this season, including Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s younger brother, Caylin. Caylin’s father, Cecil, told the Washington Post when he entered the NCAA transfer portal that “there were some extenuating circumstances that we have considered in this abrupt decision.”

“Howard University does not tolerate verbal abuse or threats of any kind,” the school said in a statement last month, via the Washington Post. “The safety and well-being of our students is of paramount importance and always our number one priority. We are taking swift action to understand and investigate the allegations pertaining to the treatment of student athletes on the football team.”

Prince previously served as the head coach at Kansas State for three seasons from 2006-2008, compiling a 17-20 record. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions.

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