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Police in Oregon rape investigation were ‘not … concerned about who’ played in games

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By the time that the nation became aware of the forcible rape allegation levied by a female student against three Oregon basketball players, the outcome had all-but been decided.

The players — sophomores Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin — had been suspended from team activities, and most believe that a dismissal from the program is inevitable. The District Attorney, barring new evidence coming to light, will not be charging any of the three players, meaning that the punishment the players face is getting the boot from school without having to deal with any legal ramifications for their actions.

The only question that remained centered around when Oregon know about the allegations. The alleged crime was committed on March 8th. The police report was filed by the alleged victim on March 13th. Artis and Dotson played postseason games on the 12th, 13th, 20th and 22nd.

The university seemingly cleared that up on Tuesday night. They released a statement saying that they were made aware of the allegations when contacted by the alleged victim’s father on March 9th, but that no action was taken because the Eugene Police Department had asked them not to interfere with the investigation. The EPD confirmed as much that night, but on Wednesday, a spokesperson clarified their statement to John Canzano, a columnist with The Oregonian.

The EPD wanted Oregon to hold off on their own internal investigation.

They didn’t care if the Ducks decided to suspended Artis and Dotson. Austin was already ineligible to play as he was sitting out a transfer year.

“Police are not going to be concerned about who participates in a sporting event,” the Eugene PD’s spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin told Canzano.

There’s more.

As Steve Dunin of The Oregonian notes in this terrific column, the White House Task Force recently released a report on sexual assaults on campus. In that report was this sentence:

“A criminal investigation does not relieve a school of its independent obligation to conduct its own investigation — nor may a school wait for a criminal case to conclude to proceed.”

That raises a couple of new question that Oregon needs to answer:

  • Who, specifically, knew about the allegations and when did they know about them? Was Dana Altman made aware on March 9th?
  • What was known about the allegations? Was Oregon simply made aware that an accusation was being investigated, or were they told details about what happened?
  • Who made the decision to allow Artis and Dotson to play in Oregon’s four postseason games?
  • How would a suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules — something that seemingly happens daily at the high-major level — adversely affect the EPD’s investigation?

There may be valid explanations for the way Oregon handled this situation. Maybe they took the EPD’s advice not to begin their own process of investigating to mean they shouldn’t suspended the players, either. Maybe they didn’t realize just how vicious the accusations actually were. Maybe they simply made the decision that, until charges were filed or the investigation was completed, they would assume the innocence of their athletes.

And maybe they simply cared less about the allegation than they did about winning in the postseason and the potential bonus money that came along with it.

We don’t know, because to date, Oregon has simply released a pair of statements on the matter. They haven’t opened the Athletic Director up to take questions. Altman hasn’t even spoken publicly since the police report was made public Monday night.

Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com hits the nail on the head: It’s time for Oregon to start talking and start explaining, because the longer they wait, the worse it’s going to look for them.

Duke knocks off No. 13 Louisville in first game of critical four-game stretch

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Grayson Allen scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half and Brandon Ingram added 18 points, 10 boards and four assists as Duke picked up a critical win over No. 13 Louisville in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday night, 72-65.

A call this a critical win for the Blue Devils because it kicks off what may be the most important two-week stretch of Duke’s schedule This weekend, the Blue Devils square off with No. 9 Virginia. Next Wednesday, they’re at the Dean Dome to take on No. 7 North Carolina. Four days after that, they head to the Bluegrass State to pay a visit to Louisville.

 

With the way that Duke has been struggling on the defensive end of the floor without Amile Jefferson, that’s a stretch that could derail Duke’s season; entering Monday, all four of those games were losable. But a four-game winning streak — or even going 3-1 in that stretch — could completely change the tenor of what has been a fairly disappointing year for the defending champs, and that’s before they get Jefferson back to 100 percent.

And the difference was defensively, at least in the first half.

I’ve written in this space a number of times about how opponents know what they’re going to get from Duke defensively. Coach K, traditionally, plays half court man-to-man defense, switching every exchange — ball-screen, off-ball pick or simply when two players run by one another — that doesn’t involve the center. In recent years, he’s played some zone in situations where he defense has struggled or, like this season, when he doesn’t have the depth to risk foul trouble. We’ve even seen some 2-2-1 pressure from him of late.

But on Monday night, Duke played straight man-to-man for much of the game, and in the first half, it seemed to fluster the Cardinals. They scored just 24 points in the first 20 minutes, and while Louisville did find a way to break Duke down defensively in the second half — they shot better than 55 percent from the floor after the break — but part of the reason Duke was able to win this game was the lead they built. After a three from Allen opened scoring in the second half, the Blue Devils were up by 14, and while Louisville made a run down the stretch, they could never get control of the game.

Duke is becoming appointment viewing for basketball nerds like me that pay too much attention to X’s-and-O’s to see what kind of wrinkle Coach K is going to put in to try and compensate defensively, so I’m not sure that this performance sticks. But it is worth noting that this was the first time in eight games the Blue Devils gave up less than 1.0 PPP, and the first time since Dec. 19th they did so against an NCAA tournament-caliber team.

As far as Louisville is concerned, you have to tip your hat to those kids. They played their hearts out and fought back from a big deficit in one of the toughest places in the country to play. They did all that three days after their school ripped their hearts out with an NCAA tournament ban for this season.

So good for them. You never know how a team is going to react to something like that, but the Cardinal players showed that they have some serious fight in them.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.