Category Archives: Crime and Punishment

This week, in Title IX litigation

It’s Tennessee’s turn to step up to the plate.

Six women filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the University of Tennessee has created a student culture that enables sexual assaults by student-athletes, especially football players, and then uses an unusual, legalistic adjudication process that is biased against victims who step forward.

The lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs identified only as “Jane Does,” accuses five Tennessee athletes of sexual assault. They are former basketball player Yemi Makanjuola, former football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones and a current football player named as a “John Doe.”

… In making its case that the university enabled an environment of bad behavior and used a disciplinary system that favored the players, the lawsuit cited more than a dozen incidents involving football players that included underage drinking, sexual harassment, assault, armed robbery and sexual assaults that did not involve the Jane Doe plaintiffs. Some of the incidents cited have previously never been reported.

What makes the situation in Knoxville somewhat unique in comparison with what we’ve seen alleged in places like Baylor and FSU is how institutionalized the process is made out to be.

The plaintiffs say that UT’s administrative hearing process, which is utilized by public universities across the state, is unfair because it provides students accused of sexual assault the right to attorneys and to confront their accusers through cross-examination and an evidentiary hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge who hears the case is appointed by [UT Chancellor) Cheek, the lawsuit says.

The details of that, as laid out in the complaint, are pretty amazing.

Tennessee is the only state in the country to use such an administrative hearing process, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that UT student-athletes frequently hired prominent Knoxville attorney Don Bosch to represent them in their administrative hearings.

“Athletes knew in advance that UT would: support them even after a complaint of sexual assault; arrange for top quality legal representation; and then direct them to the (Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act) hearing procedure that denies victims the right to a hearing and to the same equal procedural, hearing, and process rights as given to perpetrators of rape and sexual assault,” the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit.

That’s gotta be encouraging for a rape victim.  It certainly gives the administration a certain level of comfort in managing the process, and that’s what several of the allegations made in the suit point towards.

“UT administration (Chancellor Jimmy Cheek), athletic department (Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director) Dave Hart and football coach (Butch Jones) were personally aware (as ‘appropriate persons’ under Title IX) and had actual notice of previous sexual assaults and rapes by football players, yet acted with deliberate indifference to the serious risks of sexual assaults and failed to take corrective actions,” the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit…

The university “delayed the investigation process until the athlete perpetrators transferred to another school or graduated without  sanction or discipline,” the lawsuit said. Johnson was suspended at the end of his senior season but was able to participate in the UT commencement ceremony…

And this allegation is just nasty.

Two of the student-athletes named in the lawsuit — Johnson and Makanjuola — were publicly praised by UT coaches and administrators while they remained on their teams, graduated or transferred, even as those officials were aware that sexual assault allegations had been made against the players.

If true, either these people are too stupid or too lazy to worry about plausible deniability – or simply too arrogant.

There’s plenty more alleged in the complaint.  I don’t see how Tennessee has any choice but to fight this hard, given the way people all the way up the chain of command are named.  In any event, it sure looks like all the rumors about misbehaving Vol players being coddled by the administration going all the way back to the Fulmer era are coming home to roost.  Ugly.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Crime and Punishment, See You In Court

Tuesday morning buffet

The chef still has a lot of recruiting seasoning to use up.

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Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, Stats Geek!

“Their football team is their priority.”

Boy, when it comes to Title IX, Baylor makes FSU look like a bunch of pikers.

This is a perfect, albeit nauseating, summary:

In the Ukwuachu case, the university had actually conducted a Title IX investigation. It cleared him. Two months before Ukwuachu’s trial, the football team’s defensive coordinator, Phil Bennett, told a crowd at a luncheon that he expected Ukwuachu to play in the 2015 season.

Ukwuachu, through his attorney, declined a request for an interview with Outside the Lines. He issued a lengthy statement in which he said he was falsely accused and that he did not receive a fair trial. He said his accuser lied repeatedly about what had happened, and prosecutors presented false evidence during his trial.

“Do not criticize Baylor University or my former coaches,” he wrote. “A Baylor University investigation cleared me and allowed me to graduate because they caught my accuser in multiple lies pertaining to the events that happened the night of the alleged incident as well as our previous encounter during their investigation.”

LaBorde, the McLennan County assistant district attorney, said Baylor’s investigation — which was not provided to Outside the Lines — faulted the soccer player for having been friends with Ukwuachu and having twice gone over to his apartment before the night on which she reported the rape.

“I have no explanation for [Baylor’s lack of action] other than it’s just some 1940s mentality of how women should behave,” she said. “If they’re sitting around and waiting for a victim who has been pulled off the jogging path and raped by a stranger wearing a trench coat, they’re going to be waiting for a long time.”

She said Baylor officials didn’t request certain records or interview sources who might have provided better evidence.

Baylor’s shiny new Title IX coordinator says it’s all better now.  Kinda sorta, anyway.

“I can’t speculate from the past. I wasn’t in the room. I wasn’t there. I do know that, in the world of Title IX … we don’t have certain powers that criminal process and a justice process has,” she said.

Just win, baby.  Just win.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment

BREAKING: Everybody gets a second chance.

Lemme see if I’ve got this straight:  a head coach on his second run at an SEC school, fresh off a one-year stint at a school renowned for second opportunities, offers a helping hand to a kid dismissed from another SEC school that’s dipped its toes into second-chance waters on occasion as well.

And people think this conference doesn’t have a heart.

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UPDATE:  Agent Muschamp has a chance to do something special.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Crime and Punishment

This time, he REALLY means it.

Les Miles lays down the law… um, laid down the law… uh, repeats himself:

Now that an LSU football player has lost a bar fight, LSU coach Les Miles is reworking his game plan for his Tigers’ night life.

“I’m cutting it off,” Miles said of his players frequenting bars after LSU tight end Dillon Gordon suffered multiple stab wounds in a fight with another man at Reggie’s bar in the Tigerland neighborhood of bars near the LSU campus.

“It’s been an old rule,” Miles said. Fights involving LSU football players at Reggie’s bar is an old story.

And Miles’ rule is one that has not been enforced strongly in recent years. In 2011, then-LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was arrested for kicking a man lying at his feet in the head during a brawl outside another bar near the LSU campus. In 2013, then LSU tailback Jeremy Hill was arrested for punching a man outside Reggie’s Bar after running up behind him, setting himself and raring back before striking him. Both incidents were caught on video. At the time, Miles did not speak of banning his players from bars. Both players were suspended briefly.

And last summer, LSU defensive lineman Trey Lealaimatafao was arrested for taking money out of the pockets of an unconscious man who was on the ground outside Reggie’s bar, then punching that man’s girlfriend. He was kicked off the team, but there was no bar ban.

Boys will be boys, eh?  I’m sure they’ll pay attention, although it’s hard to abandon popular traditions.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

“All I can say is that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved.”

Ken Starr has plenty of experience in knowing how to time the release of unflattering news, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that an announcement of a settlement of a claim against Baylor arising out of a student being sexually assaulted by Bears football player Sam Ukwuachu was essentially buried in an avalanche of bowl game news.

But I don’t think you really even need to reflect on the timing of that release to recognize how troublesome the matter was for Starr and his school.  That this one was settled to the apparent satisfaction of the girl’s lawyer without even having to file a lawsuit should speak volumes about Baylor’s culpability.

I guess Starr didn’t want the titillating equivalent of a special prosecutor’s report to sully Baylor’s name.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, See You In Court

Thursday morning buffet

Bowls making you hungry?  Okay.

  • ESPN is reporting that Scott Cochran will be getting more than $600,000 a year to stay at Alabama.  $600K for a strength coach.  Jesus.
  • Speaking of salaries, you’ll be pleased to know that Charlie Weis comes off the Notre Dame payroll tomorrow.
  • This probably isn’t good.
  • I don’t know if you watched the Holiday Bowl last night, but some kid who had two career sacks coming into the game managed three – on three straight plays.  Wowser!
  • ESPN wants to dominate New Year’s Eve, much as the N.F.L. takes over Thanksgiving Day and the N.B.A. deploys five games in its bid to wrest control of Christmas from Santa Claus.”
  • Nobody at The Miami Beach Edition cares, ESPN.
  • Why they love bowl season:  Jake Ganus confesses to eating 13 lobster tails at the bowl game dinner.
  • I didn’t realize that Ivan Maisel wrote for the AJ-C.  It’s something to consider how much talent came and went at that paper.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., Crime and Punishment, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles