Image Credit: Courtesy Omaha.com
The NCAA is being sued by seven women, including three female athletes. They allege that the organization failed to protect them from alleged sexual assaults by male college athletes.
They contend that the NCAA has an obligation to protect its athletes from assaults. For years now, the NCAA has come under fire from female students who have never been given justice for accusations of rape, groping and other assaults by male athletes.
According to the lawsuit, the women allege that they were sexually assaulted by male athletes at three institutions: Michigan State, Nebraska and one unnamed Division I college from the America East Conference. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
The lawsuit accuses the NCAA of negligence, fraud and breach of contract arguing that the NCAA had a duty to the women “to supervise, regulate, monitor and provide reasonable and appropriate rules to minimize the risk of injury or danger to student-athletes and by student-athletes.”
The NCAA “knew or should have known that their actions or inaction in light of the rate and extent of sexual assaults reported and made known to [the NCAA] by male student-athletes … would cause harm to female student-athletes and non-student-athletes at NCAA member institution campuses in both the short- and long-term,” the lawsuit states.
One of the named plaintiffs, Emma Roedel, was a sprinter at Michigan State when she said she was raped by a male teammate in March 2017.
“To be a part of a group really symbolizes it’s not just one person going against the NCAA,” Roedel said to ESPN. “By standing in a group, we’re saying, ‘Hey, this isn’t just one of us. It is all of us. And if this is happening to all of us, you need to do something and take action.'”
Another named plaintiff is Capri Davis, 20, who played for Nebraska’s top-10-ranked volleyball team until last fall. However, she took a medical leave of absence and later transferred to play at Texas.
Davis decided to transfer partially because of how she said the university failed to appropriately respond to her report that two Nebraska football players grabbed her buttocks at a party. Her friend reported an assault against her as well.
The report was made in April 2019 to the school’s Title IX office that investigates sexual misconduct.
Although the lawsuit does not name them, a description indicates that redshirt freshmen Katerian LeGrone and Andre Hunt are the alleged perpertrators. However, in January, the school’s Title IX office found them not responsible for the alleged groping incident.
Davis’ unnamed friend also told university investigators in fall 2019 that she had been raped in August 2018 by LeGrone and another teammate. The school notified her in January that “no finding was being made against” the two players.
LeGrone and Hunt have been criminally charged with first-degree sexual assault in connection with a report a different female student made in August 2019. It claims that the two men had sex with her without her consent. For that incident, Nebraska’s Title IX office found them responsible for sexual misconduct last fall, and they were expelled as of April 3.
According to reports, Hunt and LeGrone have been named in several additional police reports of alleged sex offenses filed with Lincoln police.
Attorneys for the two men have said their clients are not guilty of rape, and the university’s decision should have no bearing on their criminal cases, which are pending.
As of Wednesday, the two men were in the NCAA’s transfer portal. A complaint in the lawsuit exposes how the NCAA allows athletes “accused or convicted of sexual assault or sexual violence to evade responsibility by transferring to other schools.”