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.