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.

Washington lands second 2019 verbal commitment

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With three of its four seniors heading into the 2018-19 season being perimeter players, Washington has some holes to address in its 2019 recruiting class. Thus far Mike Hopkins and his staff have done just that, with both of the program’s commits to date being perimeter players.

The second verbal commitment was received Tuesday afternoon, as three-star combo guard Marcus Tsohonis announced that he will be a Husky. Tsohonis, a Jefferson HS (Portland, Oregon) product who played his grassroots basketball for Seattle Rotary Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit, joins four-star wing RaeQuan Battle in Washington’s 2019 class to date.

The 6-foot-4 Tsohonis, who can play on or off the ball, held offers from multiple Pac-12 programs but ultimately made the decision to make the trek north from Portland to Seattle for his collegiate career. His verbal commitment comes on the heels of an official visit to Washington that was taken this past weekend.

As noted above Washington will loose some key contributors on the perimeter after the upcoming season, with David Crisp, Mathysse Thybulle and Dominic Green all entering their final season of eligibility (big man Noah Dickerson is also a senior). The additions of Tsohonis and Battle should help Washington when it comes to filling those holes and continuing to build upon the foundation laid during Hopkins’ first season at the helm.

Four-star guard becomes LSU’s first 2019 commit

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Expected to be a factor both within the SEC and nationally this season, these are good times for the LSU men’s basketball program. Head coach Will Wade and his staff received more good news Tuesday, as 6-foot-2 combo guard James Bishop (Baltimore, Maryland/Mount St. Joseph HS) announced that he will be a Tiger next season.

Bishop, considered to be one of the top scoring guards in the class, is LSU’s first 2019 verbal commitment. Bishop’s pledge comes just over a week after his official visit to LSU, and just days after a visit to St. John’s. LSU beat out St. John’s, NC State, Marquette and VCU in the race for the Baltimore product, and given the Tigers’ current roster this is an important commitment.

LSU’s 2018 recruiting class is considered to be one of the nation’s best, with point guard Javonte Smart being one of the five-star prospects in that quintet (forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams being the others). Add in sophomore Tremont Waters, who’s coming off of an outstanding freshman season, and LSU could be in a position next summer where its top two lead guards are at the very least testing the NBA draft waters.

Landing Bishop gives LSU another talented option, and some cover should the program lose either Waters or Smart — or both — in 2019.

Calhoun officially named head coach at DIII St. Joseph

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jim Calhoun has officially been named the head coach at Division III University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

The Hall of Famer had already announced he would be taking the job and has been working for a year to establish a men’s basketball program at the small Catholic university, which was an all-women’s school until this school year.

Calhoun also has continued to serve in an advisory role at UConn, where he served as coach for 26 seasons and led the Huskies to three of their four national titles before retiring in 2012.

The 76-year-old will return to the sidelines with a career record of 873-380 when the Blue Jays open the season on Nov. 9 against William Paterson University.

That game will be played at Trinity College in Hartford, which has a gym that seats about 2,200 people, about 1,000 more than the gymnasium at Saint Joseph.

Oregon State announces addition of transfer Payton Dastrup

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Tuesday afternoon Oregon State announced that former BYU power forward Payton Dastrup has joined the program as a transfer. Dastrup, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game last season, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Oregon State will file a waiver on his behalf in hopes that Dastrup will be granted immediate eligibility.

Should the waiver request be denied, Dastrup will not be eligible to play until the 2019-20 season. For Oregon State’s sake, even with Dastrup’s career numbers he would fill a need for a team that bid farewell to its best big man during the spring.

Drew Eubanks’ decision to turn pro left a noticeable hole in Oregon State’s interior rotation, with senior Gligorije Rakocevic and junior Ben Kone being the most experienced returnees. Those two combined to average 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2017-18, with Rakocevic averaging 10.6 minutes per game in 27 appearances off the bench.

In addition to those two the Beavers add three scholarship newcomers to the mix this season in junior college transfer Kylor Kelley and freshmen Warren Washington and Jack Wilson. Dastrup has the ability to step away from the basket, which would give Oregon State a little versatility in the interior to go along with a perimeter/wing rotation led by Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Ethan Thompson.

Oklahoma State lands third 2019 commitment

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Oklahoma State managed to add another verbal commitment in its 2019 class on Tuesday, as four-star combo guard Avery Anderson III announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Mike Boynton. Anderson picked Oklahoma State over offers from Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech.

Anderson is Oklahoma State’s third commitment in the class, as the Justin, Texas product joins twins Kalib and Keylan Boone. The Boone brothers made their pledge in mid-April, and all three took official visits to Stillwater this past weekend.

Anderson’s commitment is key for two reasons. First there’s the fact that he can be used at either guard spot, and that versatility will be valuable for Oklahoma State once he arrives on campus. Also, while Oklahoma State will be quite young in the front court this coming season that isn’t the case on the perimeter.

Of Oklahoma State’s current crop of guards/wings only two, freshman Isaac Likekele and redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers, are underclassmen. The Cowboys have just one senior in the group, Mike Cunningham, but getting a guard in the 2019 class was key for Boynton’s program.

At this point, all 13 of Oklahoma State’s scholarships for the 2019-20 season have been filled with Anderson’s commitment.