Ducks ban 3 from team activities

Updated: May 7, 2014, 10:19 PM ET
By Jeff Goodman and Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Oregon junior guard Damyean Dotson has been suspended following a rape investigation in which the Lane County District Attorney's office decided not to prosecute due to a lack of evidence.

Dotson, along with teammates Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin, is not participating in team activities, the school announced Monday. Artis and Austin were involved in the case and named in a police report that was obtained by ESPN.com from the Eugene (Oregon) Police Department.

However, The Oregonian obtained information that the district attorney's office did not investigate Artis and Austin for the incident, which occurred the night of March 8, and has decided not to pursue a case against Dotson because of "insufficient evidence to prove charge(s) beyond a reasonable doubt."

"While there is no doubt the incidents occurred, the conflicting statements and actions by the victim make this case unprovable as a criminal case," the district attorney's office said in a statement Monday.

The DA went further Tuesday, releasing an in-depth statement explaining the case and the office's reason for not going forward with charges. It also said if more evidence came to light that charges could then still be brought.

"From time to time, additional evidence becomes available after an initial no-file," the statement read. "When that happens, the evidence is reviewed and, if sufficient, a case may be revived and prosecuted."

In a statement issued Tuesday night, the University of Oregon said, after first learning of the allegations from the alleged victim's father on March 9, "the Eugene Police Department told the university that if it took investigative or administrative action, it would jeopardize the integrity of the criminal investigation and, therefore, requested that the university not take action at that time."

A source with direct contact with the Ducks' basketball staff told ESPN.com on Monday night that all three players are not expected to return to the program.

The source said the staff was unaware of the allegations or the incident in March and would not have played Dotson or Artis in the postseason if the allegations had been known. The source said the university discussed the release of the report Monday night and how to handle it going forward.

On Tuesday, Robin Holmes, vice president for student affairs, and athletic director Rob Mullens jointly released a statement.

"Questions have arisen regarding the timeliness of the university's involvement in the matter reported about University of Oregon basketball," the statement read in part. "Law enforcement agencies often request that the university wait to take action in order to avoid interference with an open criminal investigation. We responded accordingly in this situation. In all cases, we begin investigating immediately and aggressively address situations in accordance with the law, our internal code of conduct, and our commitment and obligation to protect and support our students."

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday that the university was handling the situation appropriately.

"I've been monitoring it very closely," Scott told The Associated Press. "I've been in touch with the university, certainly feel that they're handling it with appropriate seriousness and handling it the right way."

Coach Dana Altman couldn't be reached for comment. He was at the Pac-12 meetings Monday in Phoenix.

Oregon president Michael Gottfredson released a statement Monday night:

"We are deeply concerned about information contained in the police report recently released by the Eugene Police Department. Federal laws that protect the privacy of all students preclude the university from commenting about students. However, the university takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. In addition, a full range of services and support are offered to students, including those required by Title IX and others beyond the requirements of Title IX. The university has established internal conduct processes for handling misconduct allegations. At this point, we ask that you please respect the processes and student privacy."

ESPN reported earlier Monday that Artis would be leaving the program.

Austin sat out this past season after transferring from Providence. 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, sitting out a calendar year under NCAA transfer rules.

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

Dotson averaged 9.4 points this past season for the Ducks, who were 24-10 and lost to Wisconsin in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.

Artis struggled early this past season, missing the first nine games due to an NCAA suspension. But he finished the season strong and appeared to be poised to regain his starting point guard job from the season before.

Altman's program would take a significant hit if it loses all three players.

The Ducks lose seniors Mike Moser, Jason Calliste, Johnathan Loyd, Richard Amardi and Waverly Austin. Ben Carter transferred to UNLV and A.J. Lapray left for Pepperdine. If Artis, Dotson and Brandon Austin depart, that would mean Oregon will have lost 10 of its 13 scholarship players.

Leading scorer Joseph Young, Elgin Cook and seldom-used reserve Jalil Abdul-Bassit  will return.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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