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Former Memphis WR coach was placed on leave due to Title IX, sexual misconduct complaint

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/13/2021 Evan Barnes, Memphis Commercial Appeal
a man looking at the camera: Memphis Tigers Wide Receivers Coach John Simon talks to reporters during a press conference to introduce new coaching staff members on the university's campus Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. © Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal Memphis Tigers Wide Receivers Coach John Simon talks to reporters during a press conference to introduce new coaching staff members on the university's campus Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.

Former Memphis wide receivers coach John Simon was placed on administrative leave after a Title IX and sexual misconduct complaint was filed against him.

According to emails released by the University of Memphis  to The Commercial Appeal through an open records request, Simon was placed on leave with pay on Feb. 22 pending an investigation by the university's Office of Institutional Equity.

Football coach Ryan Silverfield said on March 16 that Simon, 42, was no longer on staff and "has decided to leave to focus on his family and himself." He added it was a personal matter and declined further comment citing university policy.

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In a March 1 email to athletic director Laird Veatch, deputy athletic director Jeff Crane and Tiffany Baker Cox, director of the OIE and Chief Compliance Officer, Silverfield said he was approached on Feb. 20 by Sam Curtis, director of football operations, regarding alleged incidents involving Simon.

The details of the incident and the person or persons who made the claim were redacted in the email.

Curtis also set up an immediate meeting with Crane, who is also the football sports administrator. Silverfield added that Curtis filed a Title IX and sexual misconduct complaint through the university on Feb. 20  and a follow-up complaint two days later.

"After being told of the alleged incidents, we immediately called Laird Veatch to report to him what was occurring," Silverfield wrote. "At his request, we then called Tiffany Baker in the OIE. She told us how to proceed."

In a Feb. 21 email to Simon, Silverfield requested that he not go to the football facility and the two would have a Zoom meeting the next morning. Silverfield said in the March 1 email that he was instructed to do this and it was his only contact with Simon following the report.

The following day, Simon received a memorandum that he was placed on leave until further notice pending the investigation by the OIE.

On March 15, Simon's attorney Ricky E. Wilkins sent a letter to Silverfield that Simon would resign, effective April 1. 

Through Wilkins, Simon denied the allegations Tuesday.

"Stepping away from the University of Memphis was one of the toughest decisions my family and I have had to make, but a necessary one for us all. In regard to my resignation, I deny all allegations made against me and will be moving forward in the best interest of my career," the statement read. "I leave with nothing but love and respect for the University of Memphis and I am grateful for the opportunity I was afforded to be a part of Tiger Nation."

Simon was hired by Memphis in 2019 following two seasons as running backs coach at Arizona State. He made $305,000 this past season.

He previously was an assistant at Louisiana Lafayette and Southern Miss and according to reports, he interviewed for the Louisiana-Monroe head coaching job this winter before the school hired Terry Bowden.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Former Memphis WR coach was placed on leave due to Title IX, sexual misconduct complaint

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