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Suspended Providence players investigated

Hey bro: Dayton coach Archie Miller said today’s game against state foe Ohio State is a “big brother-little brother” situation.

Associated Press

Hey bro: Dayton coach Archie Miller said today’s game against state foe Ohio State is a “big brother-little brother” situation.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Police confirmed Wednesday that they are investigating an allegation that two Providence College basketball players sexually assaulted another student on campus in November.

Providence police Maj. David Lapatin told the Associated Press that the complaint was filed about two weeks ago by a female student against two men who were on the basketball team at the time of the assault. He would not name the players, but a defense lawyer said unsubstantiated sex assault allegations were made against players Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin when they were suspended from playing in games in the fall.

"The school did an exhaustive review, interviewed all the parties including the two male students, who voluntarily participated in the process," Bill Lynch, a lawyer for Bullock, said Wednesday. "There was never a finding against either of the students that there was a sexual assault."

The police investigation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Friars, the No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament, face North Carolina in Friday's second round in San Antonio, Texas.

The freshman players were initially suspended Nov. 6, shortly before the season began, for what the school said at the time was "not upholding their responsibilities as student-athletes."

Wednesday, Providence spokesman Steve Maurano would not give details about the complaint, but said coach Ed Cooley suspended the players the day they received it. Maurano said he would "recommend against drawing any conclusions that our (on-campus) process ended with a finding that our student-athlete was found responsible for sexual assault."

The school announced in December that the Bullock and Austin would not be allowed to play for the entire season.

Austin has since withdrawn and enrolled at Oregon, Maurano said.

Familiar neighbors: Dayton coach Archie Miller has known Ohio State's Thad Matta long enough to not be fooled by his mentor's friendly, outgoing demeanor.

"You know how it is. He'll walk around with a smile on his face," Miller said. "But he's going to try to stomp your head in the first chance you get."

Miller then smiled and called Matta "a good guy," while acknowledging how special it was to be Matta's assistant in Columbus for two years.

As if the so-called "Battle of Ohio" needed further subplots with Ohio State, the South Region's sixth seed, facing No. 11 Dayton today in Buffalo.

The coaches have known each other for about 20 years, since Matta was an assistant at Miami, Ohio, and came across Miller in elementary school. Flyers starting guard Jordan Sibert spent two seasons with the Buckeyes before transferring to Dayton.

And the schools are only 75 miles apart.

Matta called the Buckeye state buzz a little overstated.

"I think people want to put tags on situations," Matta said. "But for us, and for Dayton, you win or you go home. There's not a whole lot more than that."

Looking out for No. 1: Nebraska goes into Friday's West Region game against Baylor in San Antonio, Texas, with an unwanted distinction: Being one of two power-conference programs to have never won a game in the NCAA Tournament.

The other one is fellow Big Ten team Northwestern, which has never made the tournament.

Cornhuskers coach Tim Miles has repeatedly said he doesn't want his name associated with anything before his arrival last year, much less the program's 0-6 record in the NCAA Tournament, but said he understands the fans' pain and likened the situation to that of two MLB teams.

"They've invested emotionally, and they've been burned a few times," Miles said. "They've felt like they were the Cubbies, and I kept telling them, 'Let's pretend we're the Red Sox.' "

Suspended Providence players investigated 03/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:56pm]
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