Sexual assault charges will not be filed against Gophers basketball player Reggie Lynch, the University of Minnesota police and Hennepin County Attorney’s office said Monday.
Lynch was arrested May 8 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a campus apartment and was released from jail May 10.
“We have insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed,’’ said Chuck Laszew- ski, spokesman for County Attorney’s office.
The decision could pave the way for Lynch’s return to the team. For now, the 21-year-old Edina native remains suspended from practice and team workouts.
“They’re elated,” Lynch’s attorney, David Valentini, said of the family. “They’re not surprised, but they are elated. They were surprised he was attached with this in the first place.”
Gophers coach Richard Pitino could not be reached for comment. Lynch’s attorney said Monday night that his client didn’t practice with the team that day. Lynch had asked if he could be allowed to practice for the first time since last season. Lynch, a 6-foot-9 junior center, sat out last year after transferring from Illinois State.
“I was hopeful that his coach would invite him on the floor today for his first practice,” Valentini said earlier Monday. “I think that they wanted to run it by [athletic director Mark Coyle] first.”
Valentini talked to Lynch and his family Monday, relaying that they were relieved the decision ended up in their favor. But they would have been “shocked” if Lynch was charged, according to Valentini.
“From Day 1 when he presented the facts to me, I was reasonably confident that after an investigation we hoped that he wasn’t charged,” Valentini said. “I don’t know if it really clears your name. Reggie Lynch was accused of ‘X’ crime; does this get that out of people’s mind? I don’t know. But he certainly deserves to be exonerated.”
Lynch, a former all-state player at Edina High School, is fully recovered from rotator cuff surgery in February. Pitino spoke last season about Lynch having the potential to be an NBA prospect and All-Big Ten center.
Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou, who struggled as the Gophers’ starting centers last season, both return. But Konate has missed time this summer with a quad injury. Pitino said last week that he experimented with freshman Eric Curry in the middle with Konate and Lynch absent from practice.
Lynch has not practiced or worked out with the team this summer. But Coyle allowed him to participate in team building activities, which included listening to motivational speakers.
“We’ve just kind of been waiting,” Pitino said recently. “We’re just being patient with it. It’s summertime right now, and so we have time.”