MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — University of Minnesota basketball standout Reggie Lynch is facing suspension until at least 2020 for his alleged role in a sexual misconduct incident.
Lynch also faces a complete ban from the campus as well. The school began investigating Lynch last fall after a woman filed a complaint, saying he assaulted her in his dorm room in April of 2016.
Sources told WCCO that two women came forward with accusations regarding Lynch and his conduct over the past year, but only one woman went through with the University’s investigation process.
A third woman came forward, accusing Reggie Lynch of raping her, in 2016. He was never criminally charged and was cleared by the University.
That source also claims they sat down with Gophers Athletics officials in early 2017 and told them, on behalf of the victims, about the experiences with Lynch. They say those Gophers Athletics officials brushed aside the complaint and allowed Lynch to continue playing.
This is not the first time Lynch has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2016, he was arrested on suspicion of raping a 19-year-old woman. He did not face criminal charges, but was suspended from the team while the incident was investigated.
Lynch can appeal the current suspension he faces, which will be effective Jan. 9, 2018 and will last until at least Aug. 1, 2020.
If Lynch appeals the findings, all sanctions are essentially paused pending the outcome of that appeal. The sanctions will only go into effect once the student either exhausts their appeals or elects not to make an appeal and accepts the recommended sanctions.
Lynch is a native of Edina, Minnesota. He came to the U from the Illinois State University after playing for two seasons there. Last season, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Athletic Director Mark Coyle and head coach Richard Pitino addressed Lynch’s suspension Friday. Coyle said privacy laws prevent him from going into specifics about the allegations, but acknowledged Lynch will not play in Saturday’s game. Lynch is suspended from athletic competition, but still has access to team practices, team medical services, academic support and other team services.
“Reggie is a member of our basketball team,” Coyle said.
Coyle said student athletes receive an average of seven hours training on sexual misconduct and other topics throughout the year. He stressed that the university has procedures and processes in place that are followed for every student athlete involved in an incident like this.
“People should trust the procedures we have in place,” Coyle said. “We have procedures that have been reviewed by outside agencies. We have procedures that people have focused on and worked on and have followed.”
Pitino said he’s spoken to Lynch about the accusations, but wouldn’t get into specifics. He said he has “no idea to predict” if Lynch will play for the Gophers again.
Pitino also said the Gophers “never saw any red flags leading up to this” when recruiting Lynch.
Attorney Lee Hutton told WCCO Lynch will appeal his suspension.
Abby Honold is an advocate for victims of sexual assault, and alumna of the University of Minnesota.
“I think, at a minimum, Gopher Athletics should have taken Reggie off the team a while ago. I know that they were aware of these allegations. I know they were aware of the report,” she said.
Honold feels officials are talking a good game, but doing little to back up what they preach.
“I do think when it came to things like training and education that they were really on board with that,” she said. “But it was harder to get across when I was talking about accountability, because no matter how much training, how much education you have, if there is no accountability when you break those rules, what incentive is there to go by them? And I really brought up Reggie as an example of that.”