Diggs speaks up, calls allegations unfounded Morgan coach issues statement

September 01, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Morgan State football coach Ricky Diggs, who during the past four months has been named in separate lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and breach of contract, issued a statement yesterday describing the accusations as "unfounded."

It was the first time that Diggs, who begins his third season as coach at Morgan on Saturday, has commented about the two lawsuits.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun last week, Diggs was named as a defendant in a $450,000 lawsuit filed by Rondle Woods, who alleges breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation after being hired as the defensive coordinator only to be relieved of his duties. Woods quit his job at the University of California-Davis earlier this year after being offered a job by Diggs, but says he was terminated after a dispute over his college transcripts.

In April, Diggs was named as a defendant in a $2 million lawsuit filed by former academic coordinator Betsy Stearns, who says she was sexually harassed by the coach. Depositions are being taken in that suit.

"The last 10 months have been very difficult for me and my family," said Diggs, who at the end of last season was the target of a player rebellion that sought his ouster.

Of the two lawsuits, Diggs said: "I want the public to know that like the allegations of sexual harassment made earlier by Ms. Elizabeth Stearns, the charges made by Mr. Woods are unfounded. I regret very much the situation with Mr. Woods since he and I have been friends [both were assistant coaches at South Carolina] over the last 10 years.

"But I cannot allow the university to be smeared," Diggs wrote, "nor my own reputation to be destroyed by frivolous charges."

Diggs said that, on the advice of counsel, he has limited his public response.

"I am unable to provide more details about either the case of Stearns or Woods, but in due time, I believe the details will become public knowledge," Diggs said. "Meanwhile, I will continue to work to build the football program at Morgan for which I was hired."

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