Pacific looking into ex-assistant's possible improper relationship

The University of Pacific, a West Coast Conference school, has hired an outside and independent investigator to look into a possible inappropriate relationship between a former men's basketball assistant and female student-athlete, a source told CBS Sports.

When contacted, a school official acknowledged the investigation to CBS Sports.

CBS Sports obtained an anonymous letter -- which Pacific confirmed was also sent to the school -- that alleges former assistant Joe Ford, now at Idaho, had a questionable relationship with a female student-athlete while working at Pacific. In the context of that relationship, the letter alleges Ford acted inappropriately -- even threatening to try to have the student-athlete's scholarship removed if she rejected his advances. Upon receiving the letter, Pacific officials said they hired an outside investigator. And though the investigation remains incomplete, a school official told CBS Sports that, after roughly two dozen interviews, they do not believe the most serious allegations carry merit.

Fraternization between faculty and students is "highly discouraged" at Pacific.

Still, it's not explicitly prohibited.

Pacific released a statement to CBS Sports late Thursday.

"Pacific takes any allegations of sexual misconduct extremely seriously, and the wellbeing of our students is our paramount concern," the statement reads. "On Sept. 10 we received information in an anonymous letter that raised concerns warranting a thorough investigation. President Pamela A. Eibeck designated Vice President of Student Life Patrick Day to oversee this effort. We notified the Stockton Police Department and identified an experienced and respected independent investigator who began interviews on Sept. 15."

The release also states "the former student and the former member of the coaching staff have stated that the relationship was consensual" and no scholarship removal was ever threatened. Ford did not immediately return a message from CBS Sports seeking comment.

Ford is a former All-Big West Conference player at Pacific.

He took a job at Idaho this offseason.

Here's a link to Pacific's policy on relationships between faculty and students.

The University of Pacific may have a problem on its hands. (USATSI)
The University of Pacific may have a problem on its hands. (USATSI)

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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