Three Oregon basketball players booted after rape investigation
Three Oregon basketball players who were investigated but not charged in an alleged sexual assault have been dismissed from the team.
The school announced at a press conference Friday that the players, 19-year-old Damyean Dotson, 19-year-old Dominic Artis, and 18-year-old Brandon Austin, were suspended because their conduct was not befitting student-athletes based on allegations made by a student who said she was assaulted by the players at a postgame party and at an apartment in early March.
The Lane County district attorney's office investigated the allegations and determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the players on criminal charges.
"They will not be playing basketball at Oregon again," said Oregon president Michael Gottfredson, who appeared at Friday's press conference along with vice president for student affairs Robin Holmes and athletic director Rob Mullens.
While Oregon was informed of the allegations, school and team officials were asked not to take action so as not to interfere with the police investigation. Two of the athletes subsequently played in NCAA Tournament games for the Ducks.
Mullens said he did not know which players were under investigation when the team played in the postseason tournament.
After the allegations surfaced earlier this week, the school said the players were not participating in team activities but would not elaborate. The school had cited federal privacy laws in not commenting further on the status of the players.
The woman's father initially reported the alleged assault 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.
Eugene, Oregon, police released a 24-page report on Monday detailing the accusations, in which the athletes said sexual relations with the student were consensual. District Attorney Alex Gardner put out a three-page explanation for his decision not to bring charges in the case.
While Oregon released a statement earlier this week saying that school officials were conducting an internal investigation, the handling of the alleged assault sparked protests on campus, including one Thursday that drew more than 100 people.
Oregon officials said Friday that the school received the police report on April 24 and suspended the players shortly thereafter.
Gottfredson said the university plans to take additional action next week to address the university's response to sexual assaults.
"Our students' safety and security is our top priority," he said.
It is the second sexual assault allegation Austin 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 this week that that case remains under investigation.
Oregon went 24-10 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Seven seniors and two transfers have already left the team since its third-round tournament loss to Wisconsin on March 22.
Coach Dana Altman was not present at Friday's news conference.