University of Minnesota basketball star Reggie Lynch has been recommended for expulsion after a third woman has come forward accusing him of sexual assault.
The decision last week by the U’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) found that Lynch was responsible for misconduct in an alleged sexual assault that occurred on April 7, 2016. The EOAA’s finding against Lynch was issued the same day as a separate recommendation that he be suspended for the same student code violations in an unrelated incident that occurred three weeks later.
While being investigated by the EOAA for both complaints, Lynch played for the Gophers as the 2017 season kicked off.
Two women received notice last Thursday of the findings in their respective EOAA investigations. On Friday, they learned that Lynch appealed, asking for hearings before the Sexual Misconduct Subcommittee (SSMS). The committee can either affirm or reverse the recommendations. The SSMS proceedings are not public.
Lynch’s attorney, Lee Hutton, declined to comment. Another attorney, Ryan Pacyga, said Tuesday that he is also representing Lynch and will hold a news conference on Wednesday.
The latest report means that in April and May of 2016, Lynch was allegedly involved in incidents with three separate women. He was arrested in May 2016 in one incident, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman declined to prosecute. In the same case, the EOAA found he was not responsible for violating the school’s conduct code.
The 23-year-old Lynch, an Edina native, remains a member of the basketball team. Athletic director Mark Coyle and coach Richard Pitino said on Friday at Williams Arena that Lynch, who is in his fourth and final year of sports eligibility, is allowed to practice with the team, but not to play in games.
Citing student privacy rules, Coyle and Pitino repeatedly declined to confirm complaints against Lynch, even though the player was in the process of appealing the findings in both matters.
The EOAA notifies the athletic department whenever a student athlete is being investigated, said university spokesman Evan Lapiska. Although athletes are automatically suspended during criminal investigations, whether a student-athlete is suspended during or after EOAA investigation is at the athletic director and/or coach’s discretion.
“The university understands and shares the frustration that it cannot share more information,” Lapiska said in a statement. “However, federal privacy protections prohibit the university from sharing information related to any specific student discipline matter. The university takes its responsibility seriously and is committed to allowing for due process for all parties involved.”
At a Friday news conference at Williams Arena, Pitino said the university conducted background checks on Lynch before bringing him to campus and found “no red flags.”
In the case publicized last week, a woman who filed a complaint against Lynch in early October revealed that an investigator had found him responsible for a sexual assault in his dorm room at Roy Wilkins Hall on April 28, 2016. For his behavior in that incident, the EOAA investigator said Lynch should be suspended from the university and barred from campus until August 2020.
On Tuesday, Pitino confirmed Lynch was at practice Monday but “didn’t do much yesterday just because I’m more focused on the guys who are playing more than anything.”
“But he was there,” Pitino added. “It was more of a short [practice] because we’re so banged up right now, but he is there if need be with certain things.”
Pitino said that Lynch will continue to practice with the team.
Staff writers Marcus Fuller and Maura Lerner contributed to this report.