Reggie Lynch drops appeals of sexual misconduct rulings, accepts expulsion

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota center Reggie Lynch announced Thursday that he will drop his appeals of a pair of sexual misconduct rulings that have sidelined him for the past month and will accept an expulsion from the university.

Lynch said during a news conference that he maintains his innocence after a school panel ruled he was "responsible" in a pair of sexual assault cases from two separate alleged incidents in April 2016.

He said he decided to drop the appeals because he does not think he will receive a fair hearing through the university. He will leave the Gophers, turn pro and attempt to resume his basketball career.

The university said in a statement later Thursday that Lynch is no longer a student there and, as a result, is no longer a member of the Gophers basketball team. Athletics spokesman Jake Ricker said only that he could confirm that Lynch is no longer on the team.

Lynch had initially decided to appeal the rulings to the school's Student Sexual Misconduct Subcommittee. He was scheduled to appear at hearings in both cases Thursday and Monday, respectively, before his announcement.

"This is not the right arena to try to clear your name in," Ryan Pacyga, Lynch's lawyer, told ESPN.

In October, university officials were notified of two sexual assault allegations, both stemming from incidents in April 2016, that had been made against Lynch, a former Big Ten defensive player of the year.

Lynch was found responsible in the two cases by the school's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, which recommended expulsion. The EOAA reviewed text messages and interviewed multiple witnesses before making its rulings against Lynch in January, according to documents in the cases.

Through his lawyer, Lynch quickly announced he would appeal both rulings.

In all, Lynch has faced sexual assault allegations three times -- all within weeks of one another -- from April 2016 to May 2016.

In a third case, Lynch was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in May 2016 and was suspended by the team. He was reinstated after local prosecutors decided not to press charges. The EOAA also decided against taking any action in that case.

The two allegations from April 2016 triggered Lynch's indefinite suspension in early January, three months after the women notified the university of their claims.

"Effective immediately, your University of Minnesota studentship will be ended with resultant loss of all student rights and privileges," reads the letter about Lynch's status from the EOAA sent to both Lynch and the woman in one of the April 2016 cases. "A disciplinary hold will be placed on your record. The hold will prevent you from registering at the University and from obtaining your records through routine channels."

The university had initially recommended an on-campus ban through 2020 after Lynch was found responsible in the first of the two April 2016 cases.

Athletic director Mark Coyle announced in January that Lynch had been suspended but could still practice with the team pending the completion of the university's judicial process. That was a week before the third allegation overall and second allegation from April 2016 against Lynch had been publicized.

"We didn't see any red flags," Gophers coach Richard Pitino told reporters in January when he was asked whether he had vetted Lynch before his decision to transfer in April 2015.

Pacyga said Lynch, who spoke briefly at the news conference Thursday, will consider his legal options. The announcement was Lynch's way of standing up for himself, he said.

"He's not going to go play ball in an arena when you don't have fair rules on both sides," Pacyga said.