By EMMA CHANG
The infamous motto “new year, new me” has not been favorable to rising basketball star Reggie Lynch, whose career has been threatened yet again by another sexual assault allegation on Jan. 3.
Now facing his third sexual assault charge and potential suspension from the Minnesota Golden Gophers, center Reggie Lynch has kickstarted yet another year of athletes being accused for misconduct.
To elaborate, after the public reveal of Lynch’s allegations, the University of Minnesota immediately banned him from campus until 2020. A university panel allowed Lynch to appeal in a disciplinary hearing, but his schooling was terminated and under potential expulsion from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Despite Lynch finally receiving his well-deserved punishment from the NCAA and the University of Minnesota, his actions have already done its damage and proven how easy it is for talented individuals to escape the repercussions for blatantly immoral behavior.
In the beginning, Lynch’s career had gone off to a good start after being awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as he played successfully throughout his second season with Gophers.
Although, Lynch was not so spectacular off the court. Prior to this in May 2016, Lynch was convicted on the suspicion of sexually assaulting a peer, but his sentence was short-lived after he was released on “insufficient evidence” and allowed to continue playing basketball.
Regardless of Lynch’s so-called innocence, there is no explanation as to why he was not faulted for having the allegations in the first place. This charge was not the first he has received and yet, Lynch was unfairly allowed to continue playing without consideration to the number of the accusations made against him.
In addition, Coach Richard Pitino recently announced Lynch’s indefinite suspension from the team. Back in 2016, after claiming he wished to follow school procedures, Pitino refrained from taking action and allowed Lynch to continue to play following his release from jail in Sept. 2016. Evidently, Lynch did not learn from his previous misbehavior and the lack of consequence was no help.
Nonetheless, his words do little to take away from the extent of Lynch’s actions. Because Lynch’s behavior continues to be problematic, one would think that either Lynch would have known better or Pitino would have learned how to punish his player accordingly.
However, Coach Pitino is not solely to blame for the lack of justice for Lynch’s victims as three incidents had occurred during both April and May of 2016. Due to the unexplained and prolonged allegations, Lynch was able to evade punishment for his crimes.
As more and more sexual misconduct claims against athletes are brought into the public’s eye, it is clear that most cases involving the sports industry and its athletes are not only justified, but also ignored. People can only hope the NCAA and other major sports associations will ignore their biases towards its players and start punishing them appropriately.