MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Suspended Gophers men’s basketball center Reggie Lynch announced Thursday he will drop his appeal of the University of Minnesota’s sexual misconduct findings, ending his academic and athletic career at Minnesota.
According to a statement from the U of M, Lynch is no longer a student at the university and is no longer the Gophers basketball team.
Lynch had a scheduled appeal hearing before the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action on Thursday afternoon.
Lynch, first and foremost, used Thursday’s announcement to once again deny the allegations against him.
"I did not commit any of the acts I'm being accused of,” Lynch said. "The truth did not set me free."
In January, the university’s EOAA office found Lynch responsible for sexual misconduct for an alleged assault during April 2016 and subsequently recommended him for expulsion. Lynch was suspended from the Gophers basketball team the week prior for sexual misconduct following a school investigation into an unrelated incident alleged to have occurred three weeks after the most recent accusation.
“I have become a victim of false accusations and it deeply saddens me to see the power of what false allegations can do to a person’s life,” Lynch said. "I am angry there is no real way to defend myself, and I feel helpless and powerless."
Lynch said he still has dreams of playing in the NBA. His mother, Marlene, says the university’s appeals process can't be fair and balanced based on way the system is set up. His attorney, Ryan Pacyga, said the problem of rape is not going away, but we need to make the system fair for both victims and the accused.
"We do not feel the appeals process will be fair, unbiased and balanced given the current political environment at the U," she said at the press conference.
Pacyga said that even if Lynch were to win an appeal, he'd still be known as a "rapist who got off," adding there is no winning for Lynch, regardless of the outcome.
Lynch said he has enough credits to graduate from the University of Minnesota. While his academic career at the school and college athletic career on the basketball team are now over, it remains unclear what that means for his diploma.