EUGENE, Ore. -- University of Oregon's President said Friday that the school knew about rape allegations leveled at three basketball players before two NCAA games, but did not suspend the players, because police asked the school not to take actions against the students.
Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin, Oregon Ducks basketball players, are accused of raping a woman at two separate locations on March 8. The victim reported the incident to police five days later.
As a father I'm appalled, said University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson at a press conference Friday. As president, I'm angry and disappointed over this profoundly disturbing incident.
A criminal investigation followed the allegations but a district attorney concluded there was not enough evidence to prosecute the men.
Watch below: UO President reacts to rape case
Gottfredson stated Friday that police had told the school not to do anything to the students that might affect their criminal investigation.
Dotson and Artis went on to play in two games of the NCAA tournament during the investigation.
The police department asked us not to do anything that might hinder their criminal investigation including suspending players, Gottfredson said. That does not mean we did nothing at that time.
Officials said they received the police report on April 30, after the NCAA tournamet games, and took immediate action.
The three students athletes were suspended, Gottfredson said. They will not be playing basketball again at the University of Oregon.
In the past, Austin had been temporarily suspended after a sex assault accusation on Providence College, before he came to the University of Oregon.
In the Eugene incident, officials stated that they wanted to respect the privacy of students involved and chose not to publicize the incident. Federal shield laws prohibit schools from talking about student discipline issues.
It's widely believed that an UO internal investigation is being conducted into the students. The findings of such an investigation could lead to disciplinary action, including expulsion.
Gottfredson said he had called for an independent review of university policies to address sexual violence on campus and student conduct.
Sexual violence, assault and harassment have no place on our campus, he said.
Protesters have criticized how the university handled the case, saying that the school didn't take enough action after they found out about the accusations.
Students planned another demonstration on campus for Friday afternoon.