Oregon Dismisses 3 Basketball Players Who Are Being Investigated for Assault

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2014

Feb 1, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Damyean Dotson (21) reacts during the game against the USC Trojans at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Updates from Wednesday, June 25

Andrew Grelf of The Oregonian has a statement released by the lawyers representing the three players:

 No jury would find that Dominic Artis, Brandon Austin or Damyean Dotson committed any form of sexual assault against their accuser. Some people will insist that the University's suspension is proof that the acts occurred, but they would be wrong. This determination was carved in stone the day the University's president, in response to a hail of local and national criticism, all but declared these young men guilty and dismissed them from the team. Good political cover, bad principle. It's absurd to expect that his underlings in the Legal & Student Affairs Departments would deviate from that line.

Grelf also provides a statement from the victim's lawyer:

Clune's response Tuesday evening:

This is a pretty poorly spun version of the night in question which noticeably omits all of the facts that incriminated their clients. The description doesn't mention that two of the three men admitted in police recorded phone calls that what they did to the victim that night was wrong with one of the men calling their behavior "very inappropriate and not something he would want to happen to his mother or sister". The third man who refused to give a statement is facing his second sexual assault allegation in the past year.

I can't blame the lawyers though as they are just trying to help their clients explain some pretty ugly behavior that has gotten a lot of press.

Updates from Monday, June 23

The trio of players under investigation for assault have been punished by the University of Oregon according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com: 

The University of Oregon says three former basketball players have been suspended as students for a minimum of four years, and up to 10 years, as a result of rape allegations involving a freshman student.

University spokeswoman Julie Brown confirmed the suspensions.

Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin were dismissed from the team last month after a student filed a police report alleging she was sexually assaulted by the players.

Updates from Thursday, June 5

Steven Dubois of the Associated Press has the latest on the Oregon investigation:

A University of Oregon student who says she was sexually assaulted by three members of the men's basketball team is making her first public statement since the controversy erupted on the Eugene campus.

The unidentified woman, through an attorney, sent an open letter to the Daily Emerald campus newspaper saying the athletic department prioritizes winning over student safety.

The full letter can be read here, via the Daily Emerald.

Daily Emerald reporter Ian Campbell also reports that Oregon has released more redacted records:

The University of Oregon Public Records Office released more fully or partially redacted records Thursday afternoon.

Blue redactions were made for attorney-client privilege, green for federal privacy law and the marigold redactions were made in the interest of protecting “frank discussion”.

Tobin Klinger, senior director of public affairs communications posted on Around the O, UO’s media website, about the process behind redacting documents.

“Critics have pointed to the redactions as evidence of a grand cover-up, when in fact they are grounded in laws that protect the records of all students from being released in potentially damaging ways,” Klinger wrote.

Updates from Thursday, May 29

KATU's Hillary Lake has the latest on Oregon's investigation:

Updates from Wednesday, May 14

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Andrew Greif of The Oregonian provides commentary from Oregon president Michael Gottfredson:

Updates from Tuesday, May 13

The University of Oregon released more information today to show how they handled the rape allegations of three basketball players according to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian:

A day after protesters demanded more transparency from the University of Oregon for its handling of rape allegations against three basketball players, the university released an updated timeline of its actions amid further outcry from faculty and the community.

The timeline is not exhaustive due to student privacy laws, UO acknowledged, but attempts to clarify how it took "immediate action" after being told by Eugene police to hold off on any administrative review until a criminal investigation closed.

The updated timeline's release comes the same day Kevin Hornbuckle, a former Eugene City Councilor, released to several media outlets that he had submitted a Title IX complaint on behalf and in support of the players -- but without their knowledge -- to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. The players are enrolled but are with their families in their hometowns instead of Eugene now, Altman said.


On Wednesday, the university's response to the alleged incident will be analyzed again at meetings of the UO Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and the University Senate.

You can view the full timeline here. 

Updates from Friday, May 9

The University of Oregon has dismissed basketball players Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin, who are being investigated for involvement in an alleged sexual assault, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman:

CBS Sports' Matt Norlander provides an update from Dana Altman's press conference:

Matt Prehm of 247 Sports reveals Oregon logos have been covered:

Andrew Greif of The Oregonian has more from the press conference:

Jeff Goodman of ESPN and KGW News have more from Altman:

Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated provides more of athletic director Rob Mullens' comments:

Lindsay Schell of Sports Illustrated reports that there were protesters on Oregon's campus: 

Updates from Wednesday, May 7

Oregon has released another statement on why Dotson and Artis were able to play in the NCAA tournament despite the investigation into both players (via Matt Norlander of CBS Sports):

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 24, after the criminal investigation was complete and the District Attorney declined to prosecute. Due to Federal privacy laws, the university cannot provide further details regarding its actions at this time.

Updates from Tuesday, May 6

The Oregon athletic department released a joint statement on the investigation involving Dotson from Robin Holmes, the vice president of student affairs, and Rob Mullens, the athletic director, via CollegeBasketballTalk.com:

The University of Oregon takes all student misconduct that threatens the safety of our students very seriously. We have a clear obligation and responsibility to act in a way that protects all members of our campus community, and our first priority is always to ensure the safety and support of our students.

Questions have arisen regarding the timeliness of the university’s involvement in the matter reported about University of Oregon basketball. Law enforcement agencies often request that the university wait to take action in order to avoid interference with an open criminal investigation. We responded accordingly in this situation. In all cases we begin investigating immediately, and aggressively address situations in accordance with the law, our internal code of conduct, and our commitment and obligation to protect and support our students.

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner provided a statement detailing why no charges have been filed against all three players, via Josephine Woolington of RegisterGuard.com: 

Gardner said that although the alleged victim claims she was too intoxicated to consent to the sexual activity, “there is no evidence from her or from others that suggests she had enough to drink to become substantially impaired prior to the first two sexual encounters in the bathroom.”

Gardner also said that friends of the victims described her as both friendly and flirtatious both before and after the alleged assaults. All the witness said that the victim could have left the party, or ask for help after the first series of alleged sexual assaults, Gardner said.

Original Text

Oregon Ducks guard Damyean Dotson has been suspended from team activities on the heels of a forcible rape investigation from back in March. The Oregonian's Andrew Greif reported that the Lane County District Attorney's office refused to pursue charges following a lack of evidence:

Oregon basketball teammates Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin are also named in a police report released Monday evening by the Eugene Police Department, though they were not investigated by the district attorney's office.

Oregon announced Monday morning that Dotson and teammates Artis and Austin were "not currently participating in any team activities."

The district attorney's office listed only Dotson as a suspect when it wrote April 14 that due to insufficient evidence it would not pursue prosecution. It also did not list any of the charges Dotson had been accused of. However, it added, "While there is no doubt the incidents occurred, the conflicting statements and actions by the victim make this case unprovable as a criminal case."

Greif raised eyebrows earlier in the day after he reported that Dotson and Austin's status on the team was "in limbo." This most recent news helps to explain why their standing with the team was on such shaky ground.

The incident in question happened on March 8, per Greif:

In the report, the victim alleged that she had been drinking alcohol on the night of March 8 when she attended a party with two friends at the home of former Oregon point guard Johnathan Loyd. Over the course of the night, the victim told officers she was sexually assaulted in three separate instances, each time by all three Duck players.

When asked how she identified the men, the victim told the reporting officer that, "They look like they do on the basketball cards they hand out at games" and that the players had identified each other by name several times.

University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson released a statement that read, per Justin Wise, Joseph Hoyt and Troy Brynelson of the Oregon Daily Emerald:

We are deeply concerned about information contained in the police report recently released by the Eugene Police Department. Federal laws that protect the privacy of all students preclude the university from commenting about students. However, the university takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. In addition, a full range of services and support are offered to students, including those required by Title IX and others beyond the requirements of Title IX. The university has established internal conduct processes for handling misconduct allegations. At this point, we ask that you please respect these processes and student privacy.

The timing of the incident and subsequent investigation will no doubt raise questions as to how the Oregon athletic department handled things. The pressure to punish Dotson and his teammates may have been juxtaposed with how much the basketball team needed them for critical postseason games, per Andy Glockner:

The report was made to police on March 13, which means Dotson was allowed to play in two NCAA tournament games a week after the victim came forward:

Kami Mattioli of Sporting News wonders how much head coach Dana Altman has allowed a toxic atmosphere to grow in Eugene:

Altman and Oregon wouldn't be the first to let an incident like this fly under the radar, but Mattioli correctly points out that doing so only hurts the victims even more:

Even if Dotson, Artis and Austin are never allowed to play another game for the Ducks, this is far from the end of the situation.

The microscope will be on Oregon and Altman to see what, if anything, they did in the immediate aftermath following the report being made to police on March 13. Over the coming weeks and months, as more information comes out, it's unlikely to put the school or basketball program in a positive light.


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