Gophers basketball player Reggie Lynch faces campus ban for 'sexual misconduct'

Reggie Lynch (left) is among the best defensive players in the country, and has helped Minnesota to a 13-3 record.

Reggie Lynch (left) is among the best defensive players in the country, and has helped Minnesota to a 13-3 record. Associated Press

In spring 2016, Reggie Lynch was arrested, jailed, and ultimately released without charge for an alleged rape.

At the time, it was Hennepin County prosecutors looking into Lynch. Now, the 23-year-old Edina native and University of Minnesota basketball player is facing punishment for a separate "sexual misconduct" incident which occurred around the same time, the Star Tribune reports. The newly investigated incident in question took place in Lynch's dorm room, and involved a woman attending a different university.

The case was investigated by the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) department, which operates on a different burden of proof. A court of law convicts with evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt," while an EOAA department needs a "preponderance" of evidence, meaning it's more likely the alleged incident happened than didn't happen.

Based on that standard, Lynch will be suspended from school and banned from campus until August 2020, at least: Lynch could reapply at that time, though he is currently using his final year of eligiblity. (Lynch transferred to the U of M after starting college at Illinois State.)

The EOAA had also investigated the rape accusation that landed Lynch in jail, but in that case determined he had "reasonably believed the sex was consensual," the Pioneer Press reports.

Unless Lynch appeals the EOAA decision to the U's Student Sexual Misconduct Subcommittee, his ban goes into effect January 9. An appeal would delay Lynch's suspension and trigger hearings before that subcommittee, which this year consists of 20 University faculty and employees and 13 students.

According to that subcommittee's rules, if Lynch's suspension is upheld, he could appeal yet again, this time taking the process to University of Minnesota Provost Karen Hanson, or another designated administrator with "campus-wide scope." 

Lynch is averaging 10 points and eight rebounds a game for the Gophers, and his 4.1 blocks per game average is the third-highest in the country. With a 13-3 record (2-1 Big Ten), Minnesota is off to a strong start this season. Lynch played 30 minutes in Wednesday night's victory over Illinois, collecting 11 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocks.

Neither Lynch, through his attorney, nor Gophers coach Richard Pitino responded Thursday night to requests for comment.