Minnesota basketball forward Reggie Lynch has been suspended following a school investigation that ended with him facing a career-ending suspension and a “complete ban” from campus until 2020.
Athletic director Mark Coyle did not get into specifics about the duration of the suspension in a Friday news conference, but said Lynch would not play in Minnesota’s game on Saturday against Indiana. He remains a member of the team, and plans to appeal the suspension.
“We want to make sure that student-athlete has access to athletic medicine and treatment, to academic services, the opportunity to continue compete and be around his team from that standpoint,” Coyle told reporters Friday. “So we thought it was important to go that direction.”
The Star Tribune and the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported Friday that the university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) office had investigated and found Lynch “responsible” for sexual assault claim that occurred in Lynch’s dorm room in April 2016.
That is one of two second sexual assault investigations into Lynch during his time Minnesota. In May, Lynch was arrested on suspicion that he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman. The charges were dropped in August, and Minnesota cleared him to play this season a month later.
Lynch is a senior in his second season on the team following a transfer from Illinois State.
“We have worked incredibly hard to provide a first class experience for any student-athlete who comes to our program,” Coyle said, “and since I got here in June of 2016, we have talked very hard about we want to be defined by our actions, by having great humility and by representing this institution in a first class manner. And I feel like any time we’re faced with a situation involving any student athlete, we want to handle them swiftly and we feel like we’ve been fair in the process.”
“People should trust the procedures we have in place,” Coyle said. “We have procedures that have been reviewed by outside agencies that people have focused on, worked on and have followed.”
Basketball coach Richard Pitino echoed those comments:
“I think that there are policies to handle all of these things. I support Mark and trust him. I trust that all of these policies are in place for a reason.”
Minnesota’s football team was also mired in a sexual assault scandal in 2016, during which the school fired coach Tracy Claeys after he issued a statement supporting the team’s planned boycott of games. The team suspended 10 players after sexual assault allegations, and players threatened to boycott the team’s appearance in the Holiday Bowl. However, the players decided to abandon plans to boycott after reading the 80-page report that detailed allegations against the players.
The university eventually cleared Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Shenault and Antoine Winfield Jr., four players involved in allegations. upheld expulsions for Ray Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson, and a one-year suspension for Mark Williams. It reduced the penalty for Carlton Djam from expulsion to one-year suspension.
Coyle’s full news conference is below.