Utah State denied the release of sophomore forward David Collette on Tuesday, arguing his decision earlier this month to quit the team before the season put the Aggies in a poor position and unable to replace the team's No. 2 returning scorer for new coach Tim Duryea.
But Collette told ESPN that he quit the team because of multiple issues with Duryea, including alleging that the coach downplayed one teammate's sucker-punching another in the back of the head.
Collette said his athletic aid was canceled for the remainder of the semester once he said he was leaving. He said he plans to finish the semester at Utah State and wants to transfer to another school in January, with the hope of playing in a year. Collette averaged 12.8 points and five rebounds per game last season as a redshirt freshman for then-head coach Stew Morrill. Duryea was an assistant for Morrill before replacing him.
Collette said he will appeal the school's decision. He said he originally was limited to not transferring to a Power 5 school but that has been changed to a full block. If his appeal is denied, Collette will have to pay his own tuition.
Utah State responded to Collette's charge in a written response to ESPN.
"Utah State University has followed all applicable NCAA procedures and applied consistent internal practices in declining the request for release," the university wrote. "David Collette chose to leave Utah State two days prior to its season-opening contest, which hamstrung the team in terms of recruiting a new player to that position or even practicing with other players for that position. The timing of David's decision to leave the team is the reason Utah State is handling his release this way. There were never any other restrictions put on his release."
Due to federal privacy laws, Utah State wouldn't comment on Collette's financial aid for the remainder of the semester. Collette provided ESPN with an email, dated Nov. 13, that stated his athletics aid had been canceled immediately and listed instructions on how to appeal.
Utah State said in an email to ESPN that "there was an incident in practice, and the athletics director and others within the athletics department were informed. Punishment for the incident was handed out and seen through."