NC State dismisses 2, suspends 3 others amid sexual assault investigation

Dr. Saturday
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Following an investigation into alleged sexual assaults at an on-campus party last month, NC State has dismissed two players from the program while suspending three others for student-athlete code of conduct violations.

The two dismissed players, Antoine Thompson and Kevince Brown, are no longer enrolled at the university. Isaiah Moore, Erin Collins and Xavier Lyas have all been suspended by coach Dave Doeren. The five players are all freshmen. The “measures of discipline” for the three suspended players have been “handled internally,” the school said in a news release. Athletic director Debbie Yow said the three are suspended “from competition” and also face “other discipline.”

No charges have been filed in the case. The disciplinary actions taken are “not regarding allegations of sexual assault,” Yow said, but the school “reserves the right to impose additional sanctions if new violations are discovered.”

“Should any student-athlete be charged with sexual misconduct by legal authorities, he will immediately be suspended from the team. That said, it is extremely important to respect due process for the student-athletes,” Yow said. “To be clear, the actions taken by Athletics are separate from any that might be imposed by the University or legal authorities. We fully support those processes.”

According to the News & Observer, the alleged assaults took place on July 21 and there is a police investigation as well as a university investigation:

Police have spent about 800 hours investigating the claims, including through interviews, the execution of “numerous” search warrants to seize potential evidence from cellphones, the residence where the alleged assaults took place and video from campus security cameras. Campus administrators are also conducting a separate investigation to determine if there were violations of the Student Code of Conduct, which could lead to more disciplinary actions by the school, including expulsion, according to the university.

“There were three separate sexual assaults reported at one location,” said NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman, who described the alleged assaults as “a series of events over a period of time. It was not a stranger assault,”

Earlier this month, the campus police department made public incident reports that indicated two of the students told police they had been raped, while the third student told police she was the victim of sexual battery. One of the cases is being investigated as second-degree forcible rape after the alleged victim told police a suspect had sexual intercourse with her after she was given alcoholic beverages and an unnamed drug, according to one incident report. A second case is being investigated as second-degree rape.

“We have a locker room full of young men committed to representing our University with integrity and respect, and have created a strong culture for NC State Football through our leadership program. We had five freshmen, two of whom have been dismissed, who made poor decisions that don’t align with the values of our program and each has been handled accordingly,” Doeren said in a statement.

“Although I’ve disciplined these players for violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, I want to make it clear that I respect due process in the University and legal proceedings. Our players understand that I’m going be firm, but fair when it comes to discipline.”

Added Yow:

“The culture we have established and continue to reinforce to our student athletes, staff and coaches is one that expects integrity and accountability in all we do. When that culture is threatened through violations of the Student Athlete Code of Conduct or Team Rules, disciplinary actions must be imposed. Participation in intercollegiate athletics is a privilege, not a right.

The football players who violated the Student Athlete Code of Conduct and Football Team Rules have been disciplined by Coach Doeren, with my full support. Coach Doeren continues to responsibly manage difficult circumstances in an appropriate and forthcoming manner, which is greatly appreciated.”

Thompson, a wide receiver, was one of two four-star recruits in NC State’s 2017 class. Brown, a defensive end, was a two-star recruit. The three suspended players, Collins, Lyas and Moore, were all three-star recruits.

NC State opens its season against South Carolina on Sept. 2.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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