Judge dismisses suit vs. Wisconsin over Cephus reinstatement

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit alleging the University of Wisconsin System reinstated former Badgers receiver Quintez Cephus without seeking input from a woman who accused him of sexual assault in 2018.

A UW-Madison investigation found that Cephus likely assaulted her and the university expelled him in early 2019. A jury acquitted him of charges, however, and the school readmitted him. He rejoined the team for most of the 2019 season and the Detroit Lions ultimately selected him in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

The woman sued in September 2020, alleging that the university shut her out of the reinstatement decision in violation of federal gender equity laws.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled that the woman didn’t provide enough evidence that the laws were violated and that nothing required university officials to notify the woman of Cephus’ reinstatement.

He added, though, that the decision to reinstate Cephus may have been driven by the school’s desire to avoid a lawsuit or to get Cephus back on the field. But “poor optics” are not actionable under federal gender equity laws, he said.

The woman’s attorney, John Clune, said an appeal is likely.

The lawsuit doesn’t name Cephus, calling him Player 1, and refers to the woman as Jane Doe. The facts of the case are identical to those involving Cephus, however.

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