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Sulaimon Sexual Assault Allegation A Part Of A Growing Problem In College Basketball


College Basketball has been rocked once again with a sexual assault allegation levied against former Duke Blue Devil guard Rasheed Sulaimon. This is not the first crime of this nature that the NCAA has had to deal with this year.

Think back to what happened in June of 2014. Major League Baseball was entering the dog days of summer, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat to win their third NBA championship in ten years, and the FIFA World Cup was underway.

I bet you did not even think about that girl that was allegedly gang raped by members of the Oregon Ducks basketball team at a party in Eugene, Oregon. You and about the rest of the country forgot about that.

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That seems to be the disturbing trend around college basketball – especially this season. Including the Oregon rape allegation, there have been two other major sexual assault cases involving college basketball players. Former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon is the most recent incident.

Sulaimon was dismissed from the Duke Blue Devil basketball team mysteriously on January 29. Over a month later, allegations surfaced that he sexually assaulted two female students last year, making his explosion look like a long time coming. However, the issue is that it was a long time coming.

The Duke athletic department and the coaching staff reportedly knew about these accusations in March 2014, nearly 11 months before Sulaimon was relieved of his duties to the Duke basketball team. There is no evidence to suggest that the coaching staff or the athletic department did anything to investigate these allegations or hold Sulaimon accountable until he was kicked off the team.

This almost immediately followed former Louisville guard Chris Jones being arrested for rape and sodomy after being discharged from the team on February 22. His dismissal from Louisville stemmed from missing curfew the night the alleged rape occurred, not from the actual crime itself because the allegation was revealed after he was kicked off the team. Jones has a history of emotional outbursts on the court and was suspended two weeks before his dismissal for sending threatening texts to his girlfriend after she destroyed his apartment.

Delayed handling and victims fearing backlash for speaking out has become increasingly common at universities due to the power of these college basketball programs on campus. Yes, universities have the right do their due diligence to ascertain the truth and act accordingly, but to wait months, or even an entire year, is unacceptable for accusations of this magnitude.

There have been an unusually high number of sexual assault allegations being thrown around this year involving college basketball players. Head coaches try their best to educate the young men they have been charged to watch over by instituting curfews and warning them about the pit falls of engaging in illicit activity or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

False allegations are totally within the realm of possibility in these cases, but the public image of these players will forever be tainted whether or not these accusations are true or false. Brian Banks, the former high school football player whose career was derailed because of false rape allegation, can attest to this.

Let’s be clear, however, that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The severity of these crimes does not deter from the fact that these men have the right to a fair trial and not be judged until they are convicted in a court of law.

For the sake of college basketball, these programs need to act more diligently to prevent these situations from happening. The last thing the NCAA needs is having to answer for a growing pattern of violent crime from their players.

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