January 05, 2018 10:14 PM
A top University of Minnesota basketball player is facing suspension after reportedly violating the school's sexual misconduct policy, according to a source.
U of M center Reggie Lynch, who is the defending Big 10 defensive player of the year, is facing the suspension for an incident that allegedly happened in the spring of 2016.
A source close to Lynch, however, tells KSTP he denies the accusation and will appeal the EOAA's findings against him.
That source said, "The family is devastated, they just want their privacy now."
The source also said that Lynch "denies the accusation against him about this incident that happened in 2016."
Despite the appeal, though, university athletic director Mark Coyle said Lynch will not play in Saturday's game against Indiana at Williams Arena.
"Reggie Lynch will not play," Coyle said at a press conference Friday. "He is suspended from athletic competition."
Coyle said he does remain a member of the basketball program.
Citing student-privacy concerns, both Coyle and Gophers coach Richard Pitino said they could not comment on the specifics of the case. But Pitino said he had spoken with Lynch about the matter.
The suspension could run through August 2020. That suspension could reportedly include exemption from games and practices as well as from classes, campus and university events.
The decision is based on a recommendation made by the University of Minnesota's Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, or EOAA.
The recommendation is reportedly based on a complaint filed by a woman who claims Lynch assaulted her in his dorm room.
A copy of the investigative findings indicates the woman who filed the complaint was 20 years old and a student but not at the U of M.
Sources tell KSTP the investigation started in mid-October after the woman reported the alleged assault to the university.
The KSTP Sports team talked with multiple team sources who said Lynch did not practice on Thursday.
However, Coyle was at practice Thursday, which is rare and raised eyebrows within the team, according to KSTP Sports.
This is not the first time Lynch has been investigated.
In May 2016, Lynch was arrested on suspicion of raping a 19 year old woman in a campus apartment. The EOAA investigation found the incident was likely consensual. Lynch was cleared and no charges were filed.
Without addressing Lynch's case specifically, Coyle did say that any athlete that is under criminal investigation would not be allowed to play, according to university policy. But athletes involved in the EOAA process can compete until findings are made.
"People should trust the procedures we have in place," Coyle said. "We have procedures that have been reviewed by outside agencies. We have procedures that people have focused on and worked on and followed.
We asked tough questions of Mark Coyle and you can too. Click below to send the University of Minnesota's Athletic director a video clip or email.
"And part of those procedures include providing due process for everybody involved."
Pitino said the coaching staff did not see any red flags before Lynch arrived on campus. And he said he does not believe the team has an overall culture problem.
"I don't believe we do," Pitino said. "We try to get better every single day. We take a lot of pride in our culture and in educating our guys. We'll continue to do that.
'So, no, I don't think so."
In December, the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents approved changes to sexual misconduct reporting requirements
The most significant change is that all university employees — not just supervisors — must now report sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence to the Title IX office.
All employees must also report sexual harassment of students. Supervisors will also be required to report sexual harassment of other employees.
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Updated: January 05, 2018 10:14 PM
Created: January 05, 2018 05:56 AM
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