Emails, texts show WMU’s concern over ex-football player

Bryson White accused of armed robbery, home invasion in Kalamazoo

Bryson White
Mug shot of Bryson White.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Emails and text messages between the Western Michigan University football team and Bryson White’s high school coach show the Broncos had a sudden concern while they were still recruiting him last year – months before he was accused of robbery and home invasion.

The emails and text messages, which Target 8 obtained Thursday from Mason High School in Ohio, started with great promise. White was a senior at Mason, in suburban Cincinnati, and was considered a “preferred” walk-on with the possibility of a scholarship at WMU, according to the messages.

“He is a great kid,” the Broncos recruiting coach wrote in a text to his high school coach.

Then, in May 2016, Broncos’ recruiting coach William Kenney sent this text to White’s high school coach, Brian Castner:

“Brian, Coach would rather an email from you and your principal in support of Bryson that way he can pass it along to our AD.”

The messages included no indication why.

WMU Athletic Director Katherine Beauregard has said the program received a warning about White’s character in May, though she hasn’t released details.

White’s high school coach emailed this response on May 20 to then-WMU head coach P.J. Fleck and the recruiting coach:

“Bryson White is under no investigation for any law breaking incident here at Mason High School. He has successfully graduated and will be getting his diploma this weekend.”

The WMU recruiting coach later responded, “As you know we are all about accountable.”

>>PDF: Texts and emails

In a Thursday email to Target 8, WMU’s athletic director said the messages “demonstrate Mason High School did not share any negative information with us. The documents confirm that White was under no investigation and had successfully graduated from Mason High School.”

Beauregard had refused to release the exchange, saying it would violate White’s privacy.

Mason High School spokeswoman Tracey Carson said the emails and texts released to Target 8 were the only messages exchanged about White between the two schools. She also said the exchanges aren’t the whole story. She said an internal investigation found the high school coach had told the Broncos about White’s “significant troubles at school and with law enforcement” as a freshman and sophomore — something the Broncos deny.

White had been accused of four separate sexual assaults, including gang rapes, in Mason, though he was never charged.

>>Timeline: Accusations, arrests follow Bryson White from Ohio to WMU

The final exchanges were sent in August 2016, when White already was attending WMU. His old high school coach checked up on him:

“How is he doing? Be honest big dog!” he wrote to WMU’s recruiting coach. “Please make sure you hold him accountable.”

“Getting better, he has a positive future. I just need to keep him on track,” WMU’s recruiting coach responded.

Then, a final text message was dated Aug. 27, from the Broncos recruiting coach to White’s old high school coach.

“Coach, if you can call me,” the WMU assistant wrote. “I have a serious problem with Bryson. I can’t reach his mom.”

White had been arrested the day before with a teammate for armed robbery and home invasion at an off-campus apartment in Kalamazoo. Both were subsequently kicked off the football team.