South Florida coach Jim Leavitt grabbed a player by the throat and struck him twice in the face during halftime of the Bulls' Nov. 21 game against Louisville, according to a report by Brett McMurphy of FanHouse.
The player involved in the incident is sophomore walk-on Joel Miller, and his father is a former Tampa police officer.
"You do something like that [on the street], you put them in jail," Paul Miller said. "Somewhere [Leavitt] crossed the line."
McMurphy's report says five other witnesses — South Florida players and staff members — have come forward, all speaking on the condition of anonymity because they feared Leavitt would remove them from scholarship or they might lose their job.
Joel Miller has not come forward. According to David Mitchell, who was Miller's high school coach at Tampa's Wharton High, the player feared retribution and possible dismissal from the team.
"He really wants to play football," Mitchell said. "He told me he's concerned if he says something [to the administration] 'I won't be able to play football. If I don't [say anything], I will be able to keep playing football.'
"The message I left with him when I spoke with him was: 'If you don't say anything, it's going to occur again to other players.' This was way over the line."
Miller refused to comment when contacted by McMurphy. "I'd rather not speak about it right now," he said. "There are a lot of things going on. I have no comment about this situation."
Leavitt would not comment specifically about the incident.
"I'll visit with you about recruiting," he said. "All the stuff we do in there [the locker room] ... I'll visit with you about recruiting.
"Things that happen or don't happen usually are kept within the team — whether they happen or don't happen. If you want to talk about recruiting, I'll talk about recruiting."
Miller told his father, teammates and staff members he went to talk with Leavitt two days after the incident.
"Before you say anything," said Leavitt, according to what Miller told others in South Florida's program and his father, "just know I am the most powerful man in this building."
Two weeks later, Leavitt again met with Miller and apologized.