Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle and basketball coach Richard Pitino met the media Friday morning to discuss the suspension of Gopher forward Reggie Lynch. Lynch was suspended after a ruling by U’s Sexual Misconduct Committee found him ‘responsible’ for sexual assault for an incident that reportedly stems back to spring of 2016.
NOTE: Here is the video of the Mark Coyle portion of the press conference if you would rather watch for yourself rather than read the recap below:
Mark Coyle was first at the lectern and states he could not give any specifics on the case. He said that the university has a set of policies and procedures put forth by the EOAA board and that they have and will continue to follow them. He was asked if Lynch would play against Indiana on Saturday and Coyle confirmed that Lynch is suspended and will not participate in any athletic competition. He is however still allowed to practice with the team.
When several people asked Coyle how long the suspension would be in effect, he did not give an answer and just said that he is suspended from all intercollegiate athletic competition.
Coyle said he made the decision to suspend Lynch and he informed Lynch and Richard Pitino of his decision Friday morning.
Coyle did not give a lot of details in any of his statements and continued to refer media members back to the EOAA board and the policies as set forth on the university website.
He was asked why he should be trusted to run the athletic program and why he should keep his job by one media member, and Coyle stressed that he had been brought in in June of 2016 to clean up the program and that the U had made great strides forward as an athletic department since then. “We have worked incredible hard to provide a 1st class experience for any athlete that comes to our program. We talked about being defined by our actions….each time we are faced with a situation…I feel like we’ve been very consistent.”
Richard Pitino was next to take questions and he also could not go into detail about his knowledge of the situation. He stressed his job was to try and get his team ready for a big game against Indiana tomorrow. When asked if he thought there was any chance Lynch could return this season PItino said he didn’t know.
Pitino was asked if he thought there was a culture problem with his program based upon several incidents with several of his players over the past few seasons. He said that he didn’t believe there was—” I don’t think we do, we take a lot of pride in our culture and to educate our guys.
Pitino was asked if the Gophers were wrong to try and recruit Lynch to play for Minnesota. He said he didn’t think so—that they do a lot of background checks and that there were no red flags in his past. He states that he completely agrees with Mark Coyle’s decision.
The press conference completed with a media member asking Pitino what his reaction would be to people who think that a suspension is not enough and that Lynch needs to be kicked off the team. Pitino just stated that there are policies in place and all we can do is follow them. When a follow up asked if the policies needed to be changed he responded with “I’m just a basketball coach—I don’t know” and ended the press conference.
In Summary—What did we learn?
- Reggie Lynch is suspended and will not play against Indiana on Saturday.
- He can practice with the team but will not play in any games going forward.
- Mark Coyle did not give a time frame to the suspension or give any indication of anything that would create a change in Lynch’s status.
We’ll continue to provide updates as we learn more.
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