The University of Oregon isn’t allowing three basketball players to participate in team activities after a student told police they sexually assaulted her at a postgame party and later at an apartment.
Police in Eugene investigated the allegations against Damyean Dotson, 19, Dominic Artis, 19, and Brandon Austin, 18. Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner decided there was not enough evidence to prove the sex wasn’t consensual.
Assistant athletic director Andy McNamara said the three players are not currently participating in any team activities.
The university has refused to say why the players have been disciplined.
“We are deeply concerned about information contained in the police report recently released by the Eugene Police Department,” university President Michael Gottfredson said in a statement, adding that the school “takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. The university has established internal conduct processes for handling misconduct allegations.”
The police report released by the Eugene Police Department states that the players say the sex was consensual. Austin’s attorney, Laura Fine Moro, did not return calls seeking comment. No phone listings could be found for Dotson or Artis in Eugene. It was not known whether Dotson or Artis had attorneys.
Citing federal privacy laws, university spokesman Tobin Klinger would not say whether an internal university investigation had been initiated, or whether the basketball players were barred from team activities because of the allegations. He did say that the woman’s father reported her allegations to the university on March 9, the day after the party where she met the players. The party was the same night the Ducks beat No. 3 Arizona in the final game of the regular season, and before they went on to the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments.
Robin Holmes, university vice president for student affairs, said in general, the university “immediately” investigates all allegations of sexual assault involving students, both on campus and off.
Gardner said police asked the university not to take disciplinary action until they finished their investigation, because that gives police the best opportunity to gather evidence.
The Student Athlete Code of Conduct requires athletes “to conduct themselves as responsible citizens,” and “in a manner that brings respect to the University of Oregon and its athletic teams.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the university was handling the situation appropriately.
“I’ve been monitoring it very closely,” Scott told The Associated Press while attending Pac-12 meetings in Phoenix on Wednesday. “I’ve been in touch with the university, certainly feel that they’re handling it with appropriate seriousness and handling it the right way.”
Police did not release the victim’s age, but the police report says she is a female college student and is under the age of 21.
In a three-page statement detailing his reasoning for not bringing charges, Gardner notes the focus of the determination was not on whether the sex took place, but whether the woman had consented or was too drunk to consent.
Based on interviews with the woman, her friends, the players, and recordings of telephone calls the woman made to the players afterward, there was no evidence she was substantially impaired when she entered a bathroom where the first two sexual encounters happened, Gardner wrote.
For Austin, it’s the second sexual assault allegation he has faced. While at Providence College, he and another Providence player were accused last year of sexually assaulting a female student on campus. The two were suspended and Austin subsequently transferred to Oregon. He had to sit out a calendar year under NCAA transfer rules.
Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, said that case remains under investigation.
If the three players were to leave the team, Oregon will have lost a dozen players from a program that went 24-10 in 2013-14 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. Seven seniors and two transfers have already left the team since its season-ending loss to Wisconsin on March 22.
AP reporter Gosia Wosniacka reported from Portland, Oregon, Arnie Stapleton from Denver, and Bob Baum from Phoenix.
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