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Monday, December 22, 2014

Pinkel, Alden explain decision making following ESPN report

Said Pinkel: “I make all the decisions by the information that I get, and I obviously can’t go call the victim up.”

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Athletic Director Mike Alden speaks at a news conference on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 in at Mizzou Arena. Alden answered questions related to the latex ESPN Outside the Lines report about alleged sexual assaults committed by former Mizzou football player Derrick Washington.

Mike Krebs/Senior Staff Photographer

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Mizzou Director of Athletics Mike Alden spoke to media Friday regarding an alleged 2008 rape involving former Missouri star running back Derrick Washington and a former female MU student. The alleged incident was first reported by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Thursday.

In its report, ESPN claims MU failed to follow Title IX procedure following the alleged rape.

The report, which was published by “Outside the Lines” on Thursday, details an alleged rape happening in October 2008 between Washington and a former MU student, who was kept anonymous. According to ESPN, MU failed to meet Title IX requirements by not investigating the incident independent of law enforcement.

According to ESPN, university officials knew of the rape allegation. As part of federal law, regardless of what authorities did, the university should have begun an open Title IX investigation. ESPN reported that MU never conducted such an investigation.

Alden said that in 2008 he was not aware of Title IX policy, and that no one he spoke to at MU said a Title IX investigation must be pursued.

“Back in 2008, I was not aware of those procedures,” Alden said. Alden said that today “certainly people recognize that we need to report that immediately.”

As for the decision not to take any disciplinary action against Washington following the alleged October 2008 incident, Pinkel said there was not enough information to substantiate any punishment for Washington.

“I make all the decisions by the information that I get, and I obviously can’t go call the victim up,” Pinkel said.

According to ESPN, the MU Police Department investigated the alleged 2008 incident and filed a warrant request to the Columbia Police Department. ESPN reported that then-Boone County assistant prosecuting attorney Andrew Scholz declined to press charges and instead entered an agreement with Washington in which the running back had to never contact the woman and take rape awareness classes.

“When the police get involved … when they decide they’re not going to press charges, I’m not going to remove a player from the team,” Pinkel said.

The Missouri coach added, “(the police) do a lot more than I can do. If they don’t charge him, what am I supposed to do?”

As for how this differs from the dismissal of former Mizzou wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who was removed from the program after being named a suspect in a burgulary investigation that didn’t lead to any charges, Pinkel said he had “other information, quite honestly” to help him make the decision to remove DGB from the team.

“I could have thrown it out,” Pinkel said of the information regarding Green-Beckham that he didn’t get from police, “but I didn’t, because I had to do what’s right.”

Pinkel dismissed Washington from the team in Sept. 2010, before the player was arrested for domestic assault. He said Friday that he did so because he knew Washington was going to be arrested soon, and that playing him in any of Mizzou’s 2010 games would be wrong.

He recalled sitting Washington down in his office after finding out about the assault.

“Two years ago, and now? This is serious,” Pinkel said he told Washington. “We got problems here.”

Soccer incident ‘unsubstantiated’

ESPN’s report also detailed an alleged assault by Washington. According to ESPN, a former Missouri soccer player claims Washington “struck her with a closed fist on the left side of her face.”

In the Columbia Police Department’s report, the soccer player told a detective that her coach — confirmed Thursday by MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to be head coach Bryan Blitz — said to her “her scholarship would be fine if the incident stayed out of the news.”

Alden said he was aware of the alleged May 2010 assault on the soccer player when it happened. He said he became aware of the conversation in Feb. 2014, after a “pretty massive sunshine request by ESPN.”

Alden said a review was done “outside of the university” that examine whether the coach’s talk with her was done to protect Washington. The idea was “unsubstantiated” following the review.

Loftin told media in a teleconference on Thursday that Blitz was telling the soccer player that further pursuit of the incident through legal channels could result in the player’s own arrest, which could ultimately affect her scholarship. Protecting Washington, Loftin said, “was not, in my understanding, the intention of the soccer coach.”

Alden said the soccer player finished her degree at MU on scholarship.

No emails from Pinkel

ESPN detailed that, for its report, it requested “all records (emails and phone records) sent or received by key individuals coinciding with three of these women's police reports. The University of Missouri handed over many records but said that head football coach Gary Pinkel had no emails from the 11-day time period "Outside the Lines" requested.”

Pinkel said he was informed about the situation regarding Washington, and that “if you ask any of my friends, I don’t email a whole lot.”

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