Report: Providence players linked to police sex assault case
One of the players has since transferred to Oregon, while the other was suspended for the entire season.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that police are looking into allegations from a female Providence College student who claims two members of the Providence basketball team sexually assaulted her last November.
One member of the team has since transferred to Oregon, while the other has remained on scholarship but has been suspended for the entirety of this season, according to the WSJ's story.
Though the alleged incident happened in November, the report states the allegations were brought to police within the last month. Major David Lapatin is the Providence Police employee who reportedly confirmed this information to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
But according to a person with knowledge of the matter, the alleged incident police are investigating involves Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin, two prized freshman players who were suspended in November from playing in games. The suspensions of Bullock and Austin were announced on Nov. 6, three days after the alleged incident took place.
The person familiar with the investigation said the suspensions stemmed from the school's internal review of the sexual-assault claim. Bullock remains on Providence's roster and continues to practice with the team. His name was announced with other players as the Friars accepted the Big East tournament trophy Saturday in New York. Austin left Providence in January and enrolled at the University of Oregon, where he joined that school's team which, like Providence's, is heading to the NCAA Tournament.
Bill Lynch, an attorney representing Bullock, acknowledged Tuesday that Bullock had been accused of sexual assault.
The season-long suspension for both players came about more than six weeks after the alleged incident. On Dec. 23, Providence's statement read: "Freshmen Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock will not compete in games for the college’s men’s basketball team for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. The two student-athletes will be able to practice with the team.”
Austin is the player who opted to transfer to Oregon.
On Tuesday, Providence coach Ed Cooley released a statement addressing the matter.
“This does provide the opportunity to stress that we will not compromise the promise that we’ve made to ourselves, our school, our students and their families to build and run the most respected men’s basketball program in the nation," the statement read. "A program that will expect our student athletes to meet the highest standards, both on and off the court. This promise was the foundation of my decision in November to suspend the two young men indefinitely for failing to meet the standards expected of student-athletes while the college’s internal disciplinary process took place.
“So while I cannot talk about this situation further, it is a reminder that the privilege of representing Providence College comes with great responsibility for our student-athletes.”
Eleventh-seeded Providence will play sixth-seeded North Carolina on Friday in San Antonio.
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