This is the universities official response in a Q&A format.
By now you know of the ESPN “Outside The Lines” story detailing how a former Missouri swim team member alleged that she was raped by a Tiger football player and then spiraled downward until finally she committed suicide. You probably also know that a friend of Sasha Menu Courey — former Mizzou receiver Rolandis Woodland — claims that he was emailed a tape of the incident — which has since been lost — by Menu Courey showing that three Missouri players raped her after a night of drinking in 2010.
You know that no one to date has presented evidence that University of Missouri officials knew of the allegations before Menu Courey’s death; that ESPN reported that school officials didn’t pursue the allegations or inform police when they did learn of the claims after Menu Courey’s death; that MU called ESPN’s reporting “skewed and flawed;” and that Missouri finally alerted police to the incident on Saturday night (a day after the ESPN report).
Yesterday it was learned that Missouri president Tim Wolfe is calling for “outside independent counsel” to investigate the matter. For those wanting more on the reaction from the Missouri campus and from Menu Courey’s parents you can find that here and here. And if you’re looking for a brief overview of the case, you can find that here.
While there appear to be plenty of knowns when it comes to this sad tale, there are many more unknowns. Did anyone inside the football offices know of the claims? Did anyone inside the athletic department know of the situation? Why didn’t MU officials turn things over to the police the minute they did know something?
And for the biggie — Will the NCAA get involved in this matter?
First, we’re not in favor of Mark Emmert sticking his organization’s big nose into matters of campus crime. We were among the few who criticized the NCAA for getting involved with what looked like a lynch mob at Penn State back in Summer 2012. But get involved Emmert and his crew did, slamming the Nittany Lion football program for not reporting to police that some PSU employees had suspicions that former assistant Jerry Sandusky had been raping boys.
As we said at the time, the Sandusky case was a matter for law enforcement and had absolutely nothing to do with athletics, which had been — up until the Penn State case — the NCAA’s purview.
So now it appears that Missouri officials — depending on whose story you believe — knew of the rape allegations against one or more football players but did not turn over that information to the police. Where, then, do Emmert and his team of NCAA do-gooders stand on this?
If an independent investigation finds that MU leaders knew of the allegations and ignored them will the NCAA step in? What if it’s learned that the school only knew about the allegations after Menu Courey’s death — as appears to be the case — and still decided not to report it? Will the timeline of events impact the NCAA’s decision to get involved? Will the fact that the alleged victim is dead impact the NCAA’s view? Could the swimmer’s suicide make Emmert and crew more upset?
Missouri fans will no doubt read this and yelp that we’re trying stir up trouble for the school. Not so. This is a matter for law enforcement just as Penn State’s issues were. (We do wonder how many Tiger fans were applauding the NCAA’s decision to overstep its bounds with regards to the Sandusky case, though.)
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