Mizzou officials say they have learned

Updated: August 22, 2014, 8:15 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel acknowledged Friday he knew about a 2008 rape allegation against former running back Derrick Washington, but didn't discipline him because police didn't file charges.

Pinkel and Missouri athletic director Mike Alden addressed the media on Friday, one day after ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported that Missouri officials were aware of two allegations against Washington before his 2010 arrest for deviate sexual assault.

Alden said the university made mistakes and learned from them and that now the majority of people on campus are aware sexual assault allegations must be reported to a Title IX coordinator.

"I think certainly there have been many things that have changed on our campus with regards to knowledge of reporting, knowledge of what needs to take place at appropriate times," Alden said. "Today, what you would do in a situation like that -- if you became aware of that -- certainly people recognize that we need to have that reported immediately to the Title IX coordinator on our campus ..."

OTL reported Thursday that Washington was accused by four women of assault before he was dismissed from the football team in 2010 after he was accused of felony deviant sexual assault. He was convicted in September 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison in 2011, but was released after 120 days as part of a first-time offenders program.

"I have to have information to make decisions," Pinkel said of his handling of Washington. "He said, she said -- unless I have some other information, that's what I go with. If the police after they investigate it -- they do a lot more than I can do. Certainly, I look at that. If they don't charge him, how am I supposed to ... unless there's other circumstances, other things I know. And sometimes that's happened before. But that's how I've always done it.

"I've been very consistent. I think we run a very disciplined, structured program and I think that we do the right thing. That's the most important thing we do. We try to do the right thing in every decision that we make."

Pinkel was asked about dismissing wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who wasn't charged with a crime despite two arrests on marijuana charges and another incident where he allegedly was involved in pushing an 18-year-old woman down a flight of stairs. Green-Beckham later ended up at Oklahoma but was denied a waiver there by the NCAA on Friday.

"I get all the information," Pinkel said. "And when I get all that information, I've got everything. Sometimes I don't have anything but the police investigation and, if they don't have charges, I also look if there's anything else I have.

"I had other information, quite honestly, that I knew that would help me make a decision. The decision was I had to remove him. It's confidential where I got that, but I got it. I could have thrown it out. I didn't, because I had to do what's right. I got that information so, regardless of what the police did, I did the right thing. That's why I say you have to get all the information. Sometimes you have some more, sometimes you don't."

Thursday, Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement, which said in part: "As it relates to one case highlighted in the report of an assault in 2008, our internal processes broke down, and the proper procedures were not followed regarding the student conduct discipline process and a necessary Title IX investigation. Our students and their parents, our faculty and staff, our alumni and community neighbors all deserve a safe and secure campus environment, and you have my word and my solemn promise that I and our entire administration will continue to work toward that end."

"Outside the Lines" also reported Thursday that in 2010, a Missouri women's soccer player got into a fight with Washington's girlfriend at a bar in Columbia. Police arrested and cited both women for fighting. The soccer player told police that, during the fight, Washington walked up and "struck her with a closed fist on the left side of her face."

She told police she wanted to press charges against Washington, and a warrant was issued for third-degree assault. But later that day, she came to the police department and said she had changed her mind. According to the police report, the woman spoke to her soccer coach, who said her scholarship might be in danger because of her arrest.

The report stated, "Her coach made her feel as though she would not have any problems with her scholarship if she declined to prosecute Derrick Washington for assaulting her," and that, "if Mr. Washington was arrested, the incident would make the news and the situation with her scholarship might change."

The soccer player wrote in an email to "Outside the Lines" that she did lose her scholarship but, with the help of an attorney, was able to have it reinstated.

On Friday, Mary Jo Banken, interim assistant to the chancellor for university affairs at Missouri, told "Outside the Lines" that the soccer player never actually lost her scholarship. She said the school did send her a letter dated June 29, 2010, informing her that she was going to lose her scholarship, though. Banken said that letter was sent inadvertently.

Once the school found out about the letter, she said, the scholarship was reinstated and remained until the player graduated. Banken said the soccer coach remembers telling the player that if it went public that she was involved in a fight, her scholarship might be in jeopardy.

"The coach's intent was to look out for her best interest, not to protect Washington," Banken said.

She said football coaches were aware of the incident and questioned Washington, who denied striking the soccer player. Banken said Washington never received any disciplinary action because she said coaches did not have evidence from police or witnesses that backed up the soccer player's story.

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