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Gophers' Reggie Lynch is now facing expulsion over third sex assault allegation

The basketball star is the subject of a third sexual assault allegation.
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What's happening?

The University of Minnesota's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) has recommended that Gophers men's basketball star Reggie Lynch be expelled effective immediately.

Why?

He has been accused and investigated by the U over a third allegation of sexual assault, with the EOAA finding he was responsible for misconduct in an alleged incident on Apr. 7, 2016, the Star Tribune reports.

The revelation comes just days after it was revealed the EOAA recommended Lynch be suspended from the team and banned from campus until 2020 after finding him responsible for an alleged second sexual assault.

The first allegation saw Lynch, a 23-year-old Edina native, arrested in connection with a sexual assault report, but ultimately not charged with a crime.

Lynch denies the allegations and is appealing both the suspension and the expulsion.

Why is the Gophers AD under the microscope?

The EOAA made the expulsion recommendation on the same day it recommended suspending him for the 2nd offense.

However, no mention of the third allegation was made at a Friday press conference featuring Gophers athletics director Mark Coyle and men's basketball head coach Richard Pitino, who talked about Lynch's suspension.

The Star Tribune notes that Coyle and Pitino "repeatedly declined to confirm complaints against Lynch, even though the player was in the process of appealing the findings in both matters."

Coyle and Pitino were made aware Lynch was being investigated back in October.

During that same press conference, Coyle said Lynch would still be a part of the basketball program and could still practice and receive student-athlete entitlements, though would be suspended from competition, according to the Pioneer Press.

All three alleged assaults, including the one he was arrested but not charged for, are said to have taken place between April and May of 2016.

U of M student and rape survivor turned activist Abby Honold is among those to have commented on Lynch's conduct, describing it as "the worst-kept secret" on campus and said she warned Coyle about it at a meeting last year.

Some have expressed anger that he was still allowed to perform for the Gophers despite the allegations being known.

How can the U do this?

A common question that arises at this time is how the University of Minnesota is able to expel or suspend a pupil over allegations that have not led to criminal charges.

The simple answer is the burden of proof for colleges for punishing those accused of sexual violence is different than required in criminal courts.

Under federal Title IX laws, the burden of proof required to punish someone in a sexual assault case is a "preponderance of the evidence."

In criminal cases, responsibility needs to be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt."

As MPR explains, those weighing up a report in Title IX cases "just need to find that one side is more credible," whereas in a criminal trial jurors need to be all-but-certain of what happened.

In Minnesota's case, the U of M says it will take action "if it is more likely than not that conduct occurred in violation of university policy."

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