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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.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Incoming Gator freshman ineligible for upcoming season

Mike White
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Florida will need to wait a year before seeing 6-foot-11 recruit Gorjok Gak playing games for the Gators.

The NCAA ruled that the incoming freshman will be able to enroll at Florida this year and practice with the team, but will be ineligible for games this season, the school announced Tuesday.

Should he meet all his progress marks during his freshman year, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

Gak’s eligibility issue centered on his playing games during his postgraduate year at Victory Rock Prep, according to his coach there.

“Following his graduate year from Australia, he was supposed to play from December to December,” Loren Jackson told the Gainesville Sun, “but instead played from December until the following May.”

Gak originally signed with Oklahoma State, but de-committed following Travis Ford’s firing in Stillwater this past spring. Gak averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock in Bradenton, Fla.

Florida went 21-15 last season under first-year coach Mike White.

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

UCLA loses key forward to professional ranks

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Jonah Bolden #43 of the UCLA Bruins during a 76-68 Ducks win at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jonah Bolden will be forgoing his college eligibility to turn professional.

“Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season,” the release said.

Bolden is a versatile, 6-foot-10 forward with some NBA potential. In his only season playing with the Bruins, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 boards while starting 11 games. His ability on the defensive end of the floor was something the UCLA staff was counting on this season.

A sophomore this past season, Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA as a freshman, meaning that he was allowed to be on scholarship and in class but could not play during the 2014-15 season.

He had two seasons of eligibility remaining. Without Bolden, T.J Leaf will likely be counted on to play more minutes at the four.