U. of Oregon Athlete Played a Season While Under Investigation for Sexual Assault

Updated (6/23/2017, 11:14 a.m.) with a statement from the university.

A University of Oregon men’s basketball player, Kavell Bigby-Williams, played the last basketball season while he was under criminal investigation for alleged sexual assault, according to the Daily Emerald, the campus’s student newspaper.

Mr. Bigby-Williams has been under investigation by the campus police of the Northern Wyoming Community College District since September 19, the newspaper said. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman near Gillette College, where he was a student before transferring to Oregon, the Daily Emerald reported. Through his lawyer, Nick Carter, Mr. Bigby-Williams declined to comment to the newspaper.

The Daily Emerald reported that the University of Oregon police had been aware of the investigation since September 28. But the university’s president, Michael H. Schill, told the newspaper he was not aware of the sexual-assault allegations against Mr. Bigby-Williams.

“I can’t comment on an individual student. What if I was asked by another reporter about you being obnoxious? Would you want me to tell them that?” Mr. Schill said to a Daily Emerald reporter when asked about the investigation. President Schill was described in a 2015 article in The Chronicle as having been hired to repair the university’s fragile academic standing.

It is “impossible and inappropriate” to publicly disclose details of sexual-assault cases, and details of the allegations were not shared with college coaching-staff members, so as to protect the integrity of the inquiry, the university said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Bigby-Williams announced on June 20 that he planned to transfer to Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

Oregon’s head basketball coach, Dana Altman, and university officials drew fire three years ago, when a student accused three basketball players of rape, but they were allowed to play for Oregon in the NCAA tournament while under investigation. The student later settled a civil lawsuit against the university for $800,000, amid questions about whether it had violated federal privacy law in the case.

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