University Of Oregon Allowed 3 Basketball Players Accused Of Gang Rape To Play March Madness

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 16:  Dominic Artis #1 of the Oregon Ducks looks on during the Pac-12 Championship game against the UCLA
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 16: Dominic Artis #1 of the Oregon Ducks looks on during the Pac-12 Championship game against the UCLA Bruins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 16, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The University of Oregon allowed three players on its men's basketball team to play in the NCAA tournament in March despite allegations that they gang-raped a fellow student.

Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin were named in a police report alleging they raped a female student on March 9 in multiple locations. The local prosecutor didn't charge any of the men with a crime and the allegations in the police report didn't receive widespread attention until this week, when the Eugene Police Department released its report.

Following the police report disclosure, the university said it learned of the alleged assault on March 9. The first Pac-12 tournament game was on March 12.

Oregon head coach Dana Altman knew of the investigation prior to the NCAA tournament, but allowed the players to play anyway, after getting approval by the university, according to the Oregonian.

The three men were dismissed from the university men's basketball team this week, the school announced Friday.

During a press conference on Friday, University of Oregon President Michael R. Gottfredson blamed the police for the university's failure to suspend the players or alert the community to the gang rape report.

"The Eugene Police Department requested we not do anything that might hinder their criminal investigation -- including suspending players or not playing them in a game," Gottfredson said. "We complied fully with that request, and appropriately so."

According to a redacted copy of the police report, published by the Oregonian, the rape victim didn't file a formal police report until March 13, a day after the Oregon Ducks defeated Oregon State University's team to advance in the Pac-12 tournament.

The women reported she was forcibly raped in the early hours of March 9 by Artis, Dotson and Austin. (Warning: police report is graphic.) The woman reported she was sexually assaulted in multiple locations by the men, and was placed in a chokehold and bitten.

Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner decided against prosecuting, saying he determined there was insufficient evidence to "prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt."

In a lengthy statement this week, Gardner repeatedly blamed the victim for not taking action to stop the assault. The prosecutor raised the victim's sexual history as a reason for his decision not to prosecute. He noted that the "alleged victim had the opportunity to leave the party, or at least ask for help," that "there’s no evidence she was ever unconscious during the sex acts," and that her friends "describe her as friendly and flirtations." Gardner said the woman and the three alleged assailants agreed she began to cry during intercourse, which he said was "the first point at which suspects claim they realized she wasn’t 'in to it.'"

One of the players -- Austin, a sophomore from Philadelphia -- was accused in November of sexually assaulting a student at Providence College in Rhode Island. Austin, then a player for the Providence College basketball team, was alleged to have assaulted the student with a fellow team member. Both were suspended from the squad, and Austin transferred to Oregon. Rhode Island authorities continue investigating the assault, according to the Providence Journal.

University of Oregon students have held multiple rallies on campus this week, protesting the lack of information around the case and calling for more support for sexual assault victims.