UO president: 'They will not be playing basketball at Oregon again'

UO president: 'They will not be playing basketball at Oregon again' »Play Video
Vice President for Student Affairs Robin Holmes, left, University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson, and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Rob Mullens answer questions about the status of students investigated for sexual assault during a news conference Friday May 9, 2014 in Eugene. The school announced the players, 19-year-old Damyean Dotson, 19-year-old Dominic Artis, and 18-year-old Brandon Austin, were suspended because their conduct was not befitting student-athletes based on allegations made by a student who said she was assaulted by the players at a postgame party and at an apartment in early March. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch)

EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon suspended the players named in a police investigation of an alleged rape within 24 hours of receiving a copy of the police report, top university officials said Friday.

"As a father, I'm appalled. As president, I'm angry and disappointed," University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson said. "They will not be playing basketball at Oregon again."

The Lane County district attorney's office investigated the allegations and determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute the players on criminal charges.

The school announced at a press conference that the players, Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis, and Brandon Austin, were suspended because their conduct was not befitting student-athletes based on allegations made by a student who said she was assaulted by the players at a postgame party and at an apartment.

A copy of the police investigation into the March 9 incident became available to the media and widely reported Monday.

Rob Mullens, the university's athletic director, said he did not know which players were under investigation when the team played in the postseason tournament.

Oregon received the final police report on April 24, and the three students were suspended shortly thereafter.

"When you read the police report, it's very clear it was conduct that isn't befitting of an Oregon student athlete," Mullens said Friday. "I don't want to get into specifics but it was very clear to us those were individuals we didn't want representing our organization."

Questions emerged this week regarding what university officials knew and when, as well as what the University is required under federal law to do, in such a situation.

Gottfredson said the university began an immediate investigation after learning of the sexual assault and complied fully with police investigation.

He said police asked for UO to take no action during the investigation. During the NCAA tournament, the university did not know which players were involved in the alleged sexual assault, he said.

Within 24 hours of seeing the police report, the university took corrective action to suspend players, Gottfreson said.

UO basketball Coach Dana Altman, in a later news conference, was asked why he didn't suspend the three players prior to competing in the NCAA tournament.

He said while he knew there was an incident, he did not know the extent of that incident.

"We didn't know there was a criminal investigation," he said. "Rob (Mullens) had told me there was an incident that was being investigated."

He said police didn't tell the university exactly which players they were investigating or why they were investigating until after the investigation was finished.

Altman said he read the police report April 30 and then kicked the three players off the team that day.

The woman, a university student, met the players at a party on March 8, the same night the Ducks beat No. 3 Arizona in the final game of the regular season, and before they went on to the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments. The woman's father called police the next day.

Brandon Austin's attorney, Laura Fine Moro, had no comment. Neither did Shaun McCrea on behalf of Damyean Dotson. Greg Veralrud, attorney for Dominic Artis, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

This is the second sexual assault allegation Austin has faced. While at Providence College, he and another Providence player were accused last year of sexually assaulting a female student on campus. The two were suspended and Austin subsequently transferred to Oregon. He had to sit out a calendar year under NCAA transfer rules.

Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Attorney General's office, said this week that that case remains under investigation.