Washington State coach Mike Leach’s Obama tweet cost school $1.6M in donations, official says

Washington State football coach Mike Leach’s tweet of a fake video of former President Barack Obama cost the school more than $1 million in donations, a school official said last week.

Donors altered future estate gifts after Leach tweeted and then defended the fake video in June, university President Kirk Schulz said. A school spokesperson later confirmed that number was around $1.6 million, the Seattle Times reported.

“As the president mentioned, no one who had made a cash gift has asked for their money back,” said Phil Weiler, the school’s marketing and communications vice president. “We did have five donors let us know that they had altered plans for their future giving, however. These were primarily estate gifts that would have been paid out upon the donor’s death. These planned estate gifts totaled $1.6 million.”

The edited video featured a doctored track that made Obama appear to make statements he didn’t actually make in a 2014 speech.

Leach deleted the original tweet after being blasted online. He then tweeted out the complete text of Obama’s speech the following day.

“We put all of our head coaches and cabinet through social media training just to make sure people are aware that what they are doing often reflects on their job, not their private political views,” Schultz said. “At the end of the day, Coach Leach is like anyone else. He can elect to do some of those things as a private citizen.”

Leach led the Cougars to a 10-1 overall record and a 7-1 record in the Pac-12 Conference this season. The team was ranked No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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