Michael Gottfredson, Rob Mullens

Alleged victim in Oregon sexual assault case writes letter to school community


In the aftermath of the sexual assault case that resulted in the dismissal of three Oregon basketball players, the athletic department has come under fire from people both within and outside of the campus community. Questions regarding what president Michael Gottfredson, athletic director Rob Mullens and head coach Dana Altman knew remain, and the demand for answers hasn’t subsided either.

One person who had not been heard from following the dismissal of Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin was the alleged victim, who has not been identified for obvious legal reasons. In Thursday’s Daily Emerald, Oregon’s student newspaper, a letter written by the victim was published. In the letter the victim criticized the athletic department for its actions while also making sure to thank the Dean of Students office for their help since the case came to light.

The full letter reads:

An open letter from a fellow Duck:

The past few months have, undeniably, been the hardest and most challenging time in my life. This is such an overwhelming experience and one that I hope that no other student on campus ever has to live through. Given what has transpired on campus recently, I have at times wondered whether I ever should have told anyone about what had happened.

I know a lot of people are angry. I am angry, too. I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene. I think that students, faculty, and other community members have been asking some very needed questions of our athletic department, and I am not satisfied with the answers they have provided. I think that we all deserve better explanations and real transparency.

Despite my frustration, it is important to me to thank the Dean of Students office. They have been very kind and supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not sure I would still be on campus if it weren’t for their help.

I know this has stirred up a lot of issues on campus and some of them are bigger than my incident. My sincere hope, though, is that as a school UO can get through this and come out in a better place at the end. I still love our school and I want it to be the best and safest place anywhere in the country.

Among the victim’s criticisms was the fact that the program would add a player (Austin) who was suspended for the entire season at Providence after having been investigated on an allegation of sexual assault. Oregon stated that it was unaware of the reason as to why Austin was suspended. No charges were filed in that incident, with the other player investigated (Rodney Bullock) choosing to remain at Providence.

Oregon senior director of communications Julie Brown released a statement in response to the victim’s letter to the school community.

“There have been many comments made by individuals not directly involved and affected by the alleged incident until today’s open letter to the Daily Emerald,” the statement read. “We sympathize with the challenging position that she finds herself in and support her right to express herself. We are pleased that she is continuing her education, and appreciate her pointing out the dedicated professionals in the Dean of Students office who work very hard to support each student while protecting privacy.”

h/t CBS Sports

Lawyer: Pierre suspended due to ‘unfair and defective process’

Dayton v Boise State
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Dayton forward Dyshawn Pierre, who is suspended from school for the fall semester stemming from a sexual assault allegation, has sued the university over what his lawyer calls an “unfair and defective internal process”.

Peter R. Ginsberg, Pierre’s lawyer, released a statement to NBCSports.com on Wednesday stating that his client intends to file suit over the ruling, saying that the school arrived at a suspension through “fundamentally unfair and defective internal process that deprived him of vital rights and protections and has resulted in a disruption in his education, a drastic blow to his reputation, and a potentially fatal interference” with basketball.

Pierre was suspended due to an incident that allegedly took place in mid-April and was reported in May, according to the Dayton Daily News. The prosecutor declined to press charges in the case due to a lack of evidence, the paper reported.

Pierre, a 6-foot-6 wing that averaged 12.7 points last season, is not currently enrolled at the school.

“What has been done to me has been grossly unfair. The allegations against me are false,” he said. “And now I find myself with my reputation tarnished, my schooling interrupted and my dream of helping the basketball team win a national championship being threatened. I want justice, and I want a return to my normal life.”

Ginsberg represented Dez Wells in a similar case. Wells, then at Xavier, was expelled by the university in 2012 following a sexual assault allegation, but he won a settlement from the school in 2014. The crux of Ginsberg’s claims regarding Pierre’s case is that the process by which Dayton reached this conclusion is fundamentally flawed.

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how CBSSports.com summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told CBSSports.com Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.