They may not want it, but Nebraska football is part of a larger legal drama that will play out in the coming months.
According to ESPN.com, “[s]even women, including three female athletes, are suing the NCAA, alleging the organization failed to protect them from alleged sexual assaults by male college athletes despite having an obligation to do so.” The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan Wednesday.
From the report:
The lawsuit accuses the NCAA of negligence, fraud and breach of contract. It argues that the NCAA, as a regulatory body for college athletics, 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.
A former Nebraska volleyball player, Capri Davis, is one of the seven plaintiffs in the suit. It’s alleged that Davis and another unnamed female student-athlete were groped without consent by two members of the Nebraska football team in the spring of 2019. While not specifically named in the suit, ESPN.com identified the two Nebraska football players as Katerian LeGrone and Andre Hunt. The unidentified female has also claimed that she was raped by LeGrone and a different teammate in the fall of 2018.
In late August of last year, Nebraska confirmed that two football players, Hunt, a wide receiver, and LeGrone, a tight end, had been indefinitely suspended by the program for unspecified reasons. A little over three months later, it was reported that both of the players have been “found to have violated the school’s sexual misconduct policies and face a 2½-year suspension from the university.”
The extended suspension stemmed from an alleged rape of an NU student on Aug. 25 and, even as a police investigation remained open, no criminal charges had been filed. There was a development on the legal front in mid-December, though, as LeGrone and Hunt were arrested on one count of suspicion of first-degree sexual assault and one count of suspicion of aiding and abetting first-degree sexual assault, respectively, even as neither had been formally charged at the time.
Yet another disturbing development surfaced around that same time as local media reported that an additional six sexual assault reports have been filed with the Lincoln Police Department that “are connected to either one or both of the former Husker players accused of sexual misconduct.” Four of the new reports involved non-consensual sexual penetration, three of which were designated as rape, while two included allegations of inappropriate touching of private parts.
In early December, Hunt and LeGrone entered the NCAA transfer database.
The twin portal entries also play a role in the suit. Again, from ESPN.com‘s report:
… One of the complaints in the lawsuit filed Wednesday pertains to how the NCAA allows athletes who have been “accused or convicted of sexual assault or sexual violence to evade responsibility by transferring to other schools.”
The NCAA “routinely issue[s] harsh punishments against student-athletes who accept payments in exchange for use of their likenesses, or who accept free meals, but they have no specific penalty for student-athletes who commit sexual assault,” the lawsuit states.
“[University of Nebraska-Lincoln] has fostered a culture in which female victims are discouraged from reporting sexual assaults, sexual harassment, stalking, and other forms of general discrimination when those acts are perpetrated by male student-athletes in order to protect UNL, the male athletics program, male student-athletes, and the NCAA, at the expense of female victims,” the lawsuit further stated, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star.
Twice, Davis, who has since transferred to Texas, and the unidentified female student-athlete went to the school’s Title IX office regarding the groping incident. Neither time, the suit states, was the incident investigated as required by law. After learning that Hunt and LeGrone were accused of raping a student, the pair went to the Title IX Office a third time. This time, an investigation was launched. That investigation ultimately led to the two Nebraska football players being expelled from the university.