The female student who accused three Oregon basketball players of rape settled her lawsuit on Tuesday afternoon.
The lawsuit was settled for $800,000, free tuition and policy changes to how the university treats transfer applications from those with disciplinary history, according to the woman’s attorney. Brandon Austin, one of the three players involved in the alleged incident, was accused of sexual assault at Providence in 2013. The lawsuit claimed that Oregon head coach Dana Altman, as well as other Oregon officials, knew of the prior accusations against Austin, who transferred to Oregon in January 2014.
“I am so glad to have this case behind me today and to be able to focus on my studies,” the woman said in a statement released by her attorney to NBCSports.com. “I am very grateful for the outpouring of support that I have received from students, faculty, and other organizations. The response from the UO community has been remarkable and I know that the increased awareness around these issues on our campus can only serve to help us. I would be remiss to not specifically thank the Dean of Students Office and my therapist from the UCTC and other UCTC personnel for their continued assistance throughout this experience. Without those services, it would have been very difficult to stay in school here during these events and for that I am very grateful.”
The lawsuit from March 2014, accused Oregon basketball players Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Austin of sexual assault. While no charges were ever filed due to lack of evidence, all three were dismissed from the team on May 9, 2014. Dotson signed with Houston in April. Artis committed to UTEP in May. Austin, who has yet to play a Division I game, played last season at Northwest Florida State.
Damyean Dotson, one of the three former Oregon players that were dismissed from school after being accused of sexual assault, is expected to sign a letter of intent with Houston today.
“A lot of people don’t get a second chance,” Dotson told the Chronicle. “They say one chance comes in a lifetime. To have a second chance, I can’t mess this up.”
Dotson, along with ex-teammates Brandon Austin and Dominic Artis, were accused of sexually assaulting a female Oregon student in March of 2014. All three players involved said that the sex was consensual, and while no charges against the three held — Dotson was the only one of the three to actually get charged, but it was eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence — they were kicked out of school and banned from the Oregon campus for four years.
Dotson, a Houston native, returned home after he left Oregon, attending Houston Community College without playing basketball. He worked with John Lucas, according to the Chronicle, a former NBA player and drug addict that works with athletes that have drug, legal and emotional issues.
Dotson averaged 9.4 points as a sophomore and 11.2 points as a freshman for the Ducks. He should be eligible immediately at Houston and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Austin, who has twice been accused of sexual assault, played this past season at Northwest Florida State, a JuCo powerhouse. Artis spent the past year at Diablo Valley Community College, near where he’s from in the Bay Area in California. He practiced with the team, although he didn’t play in any games.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman: ‘We have had a bad year and we do have to address that’
For Oregon head coach Dana Altman, four 20-plus win seasons and two consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament have been overshadowed by the growing list of off-the-court issues involving members of his basketball team.
In the spring, three players — Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin — were all accused of sexual assault by a female student. While no charges were filed, all three were dismissed from school and are barred from campus for the next four years. Austin, who transferred midway through last year, had a been accused of sexual assault at his previous school, Providence.
Sine late July, Ray Kasongo and JaQuan Lyle, two Oregon commits, failed to enroll into school. Just this past week, Elgin Cook and Jalil Abdul-Bassit, two of the three returning scholarship players, were cited for shoplifting.
According to Meek, Altman has altered the team’s living arrangements. The Ducks are required to live across from the Matthew Knight Arena, in the same apartment complex as the graduate assistants. Whether or not those changes occurred after the Oct. 5 shoplifting incident was not stated.
With only nine scholarship players — just one standing taller than 6-foot-7 — the Ducks are in for an uphill battle in 2014-2015. It’s something Altman, who has exceeded on-the-floor expectations before at Oregon, will have to do again in Year 4, as he needs to also restore the image of the program in the process.
Oregon begins the season on Nov. 14 against Coppin State.
I’ll explain why in a minute, but before I do, let me set the stage for you.
Altman, the Oregon head coach, finally spoke publicly about the rape accusations against three of his players on Friday evening, just a few hours after school President Michael Gottfredson made it official that Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin were kicked off of the basketball team.
Altman’s first public comments about investigation came four days after the police report detailing the alleged victim’s graphic accusations went public and almost two months after the incident occurred. More than anything, there were two questions the public was waiting for Altman and Oregon to answer:
Why was Brandon Austin, who had a sexual assault allegation at Providence hanging over his head, allowed to transfer into the school and the program?
When was Altman made aware of the latest allegations against his three players, and when did he discover the details of what the victim was claiming happened?
And quite frankly, neither answer was in anyway satisfactory.
Let’s start with the first question.
Austin was the only one of the three players that did not play in a game for the Ducks after the alleged incident occurred. That’s because he’s currently sitting out as a transfer. He left Providence after one semester because he had been suspended for the year. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Austin’s suspension was centered on an accusation that he sexually assaulted a woman in the fall. But it was known in basketball circles well before that.
On Friday, during his press conference, Altman said that he was unaware that Austin’s issue was an alleged sexual assault.
I’m not buying it.
Austin announced his transfer to Oregon on Jan. 7. He was suspended by the college for the entire year in late-December. Austin’s issue at Providence was a sexual assault allegation known by a number of people weeks prior to the suspension. I had multiple conversations about it before Providence announced he was suspended for the year, enough so that, when the Wall Street Journal’s report came out in March, I was shocked that this wasn’t already public knowledge.
If that’s what I was hearing, if those were the conversations that I was having, then I am positive Altman was hearing the same. He had to have known that a sexual assault allegation was Austin’s trouble at Providence.
That brings me to the second question: when did Altman know about the incident at Oregon and when did he find out specifics of which his players were being accused?
Altman said that he was made aware “the day before we left to go to Milwaukee [for the NCAA tournament]” of an “incident” had happened with some of his players when he was told by AD Rob Mullens. That would have been March 17th. He said he wasn’t told details of the accusations and was not privy to the identity of the players involved.
Let’s rewind here.
Oregon released their timeline of the investigation on Tuesday evening. The incident occurred on March 8th. Oregon admitted in a statement last week that they were made aware of the sexual assault allegations when the father of the victim called the school on March 9th. The alleged victim went to the Eugene PD on March 13th.
But Dana Altman didn’t find out about the incident or the allegations until March 17, after Artis and Dotson played in the Pac-12 tournament? Until the day before they were going to take off and play in the NCAA tournament? I find it hard to believe that, in a college town like Eugene, three basketball players could be accused of sexual assault and two different police departments, including the UOPD, could find out while the head coach stays in the dark for eight days.
But I’m cynical. I know that. I can admit that it’s possible word never made it back to Altman.
So I’ll take it a step further: Altman said that he did not have the details of the allegations or the identities of the players confirmed before the start of the NCAA tournament on March 20, which I find problematic.
It’s inconceivable for a college basketball coach to be made aware that a player on his or her team has a legal issue and for that coach not to figure out which player it is. Whether it’s to help them, to guide them, to make sure they have legal representation, to suspend them if, you know, they’re accused of forcible rape with two other teammates, it doesn’t matter. These are still student-athletes, right? These are kids that are supposed to become adults with the help of the coaches they play for, aren’t they? Isn’t that the ideal we’re going for here?
Moreover, I simply do not believe that a coach like Altman — or any coach at any level in any sport — would proceed to go about his business like nothing was wrong after he was made aware of an “incident” being investigated by the police that involved players on his team that was severe enough that it made it all the way back to his athletic director. Because that’s the story Altman is pitching here. His AD told him about the police investigation — and their request that Oregon pause their internal investigation, a topic I’ll get to in a minute — and, instead of finding out who was involved and how serious this “incident” was, he … went back to watching film?
Shouldn’t a coach want to know? Shouldn’t he be wondering which players on the roster managed to get themselves into trouble at the most important time of the year for a college basketball team? That shouldn’t be ignored.
But hey, maybe this is the way it played out. Maybe Altman is telling the truth here. All I’m saying is that I find it hard to believe Altman when he says he did not know the nature of the investigation and the identities of the players involved before the start of the tournament, in part because it would be the second lie that he told during that press conference on Friday.
And even if he is telling the truth, if he and his staff continued to prepare for the NCAA tournament as if three members of his team weren’t involved in an investigation being conducted by the police that he was clueless about, than that means that Altman was not on top of things the way a high-major college basketball coach should be on top of things.
Here’s something else that doesn’t add up: Altman’s stance is that he and Oregon did not look into the incident at all because they were specifically asked not to do so by the Eugene PD. According to the university, they explicitly asked the Eugene PD whether or not they should keep any players from participating in the NCAA tournament, to which they were told “to do what they normally would do regarding who plays and who doesn’t.”
At best, there was a miscommunication between Oregon and the Eugene PD, and when dealing with sexual assault allegations and postseason tournament games that net coaches — like Dana Altman — five figure bonuses, miscommunications cannot happen. When a best-case scenario could be a fireable offense, you don’t want to think about a worst-case scenario.
If Altman is willing to lie publicly, as I believe he is, about knowingly accepting a transfer that had been suspended after being accused of sexual assault, why should we believe anything else that he is saying?
And if we can’t believe him about when he knew about the accusation, when he knew about the identity of the players being accused, or what the Eugene PD told him to do, than he shouldn’t be the head coach at Oregon anymore.
With the futures of three Oregon basketball players in doubt, University of Oregon president Michael R. Gottfredson announced Friday afternoon that Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin will no longer be members of the basketball program.
The cases of Dotson, Artis and Austin have received a high level of attention in recent days, with their being accused of raping a female student back in March. However after investigating the matter no charges were filed due to a lack of evidence.
One question that arose in the aftermath was why Dotson and Artis were allowed to continue to play in games, including the NCAA tournament. Earlier this week the school stated that the Eugene Police Department told them to not take action, with the fear being that doing so would jeopardize the criminal investigation.
Also of note during the press conference was Gottfredson stating that the school will bring in an independent panel to take a look at the school’s recruiting practices, and Mullens’ statement that Altman will remain head coach. But the question now is how much will he have to change his recruiting practices, with transfers playing an important role in the program’s success under Altman.
When news of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault committed by three Oregon basketball players broke on Monday evening, the biggest question mark involving the police report was the timetable regarding when the University and the basketball program was made aware of the accusations.
The incident, in which a female student accused Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin of forcibly having sex with her on three different occasions, occurred on March 8th, a Saturday night, after Oregon’s biggest win of the season over Arizona. Dotson and Artis played in Oregon’s Pac-12 tournament games on March 12th and 13th and in their NCAA tournament games on March 20th and 22nd. The alleged victim filed her police report on March 13th. Austin was ineligible to play as he was sitting out due to the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Was Oregon aware of the allegations when they allowed Artis and Dotson to play in the postseason?
And the answer is yes, but they were allowed to play because the police department told the school that “investigative or administrative action” would “jeopardize the integrity of the criminal investigation”, according to a statement released by the university on Tuesday evening.
Senior director of public affairs Tobin Klinger confirmed in the release that Oregon was made aware of the accusations by the alleged victim on March 9th by the woman’s father.
“Upon receiving information such as this, the university’s procedures are to immediately provide services and support,” Klinger wrote. “Prior to the NCAA Tournament, the Eugene Police Department told the university that if it took investigative or administrative action, it would jeopardize the integrity of the criminal investigation and, therefore, requested that the university not take action at that time.”
The university received the police report on April 24th. By that time, the criminal investigation was complete and the District Attorney had declined to take criminal action against the three players.
The D.A. declined to prosecute for a number of reasons, as detailed here by The Oregonian. They include the fact the alleged victim did not appear to be too intoxicated to consent, according to her friends, and that she had flirted with the players prior to the incident and repeatedly returned to isolated locations with the three players. According to the police report, she also told the investigating officers that she only wanted the players to have their “wrists slapped” and did not want to “ruin their lives.”
The Oregonian is also reporting that all three players were investigated for the crime, and not just Dotson.
The three players have been suspended from the program, and multiple reports have said that they will be dismissed from the team.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman could not be reached for comment.