PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The sexual assault allegations lobbed at two members of the Providence College men’s basketball team are the latest in a string of incidents that have marred the program in recent years.
Four current or former basketball players have been arrested since 2010, including two who are serving extended prison sentences for their role in a brutal assault of a fellow student, according to a review of WPRI.com archives.
The latest accusations stem from a November incident where a female student claims she was sexually assaulted by two basketball players, according to Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin. The woman did not file a formal complaint until March 6, according to a police report obtained by WPRI.com. Lapatin said she previously filed a complaint with the college.
A report in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday identified Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin as the players being accused of the assault. Bullock and Austin were suspended in December for “not upholding their responsibilities as student athletes,” according to head coach Ed Cooley.
Bill Lynch, Bullock’s attorney, told the Associated Press the school made no finding of a sexual assault. Bullock has been allowed to practice with the team, but not play in games. Austin has transferred to the University of Oregon.
In an email, Providence College spokesman Steven Maurano said the school expects “all of our students, including student-athletes, to embody the principles and values of Providence College.”
“Far more often than not, our student-athletes represent Providence College with pride and distinction,” Maurano said. “We’re obviously disappointed whenever we learn of an activity or incident by any student or student-athlete which may be in violation of our code of conduct but, in those instances, we address it consistently and appropriately.”
Providence basketball is in the midst of a dream season after winning the Big East championship for the first time since 1994 last weekend. The team earned a No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament and will play No. 6 seed North Carolina in San Antonio Friday evening.
Cooley, a Providence native who is now in his third year coaching the team, has been widely credited with turning around a program that had not reached the NCAA tournament since 2004. The team finished fourth in the league before defeating St. John’s, Seton Hall and powerhouse Creighton on consecutive days during the Big East tournament last week.
Off the court, some of the team’s players have run into trouble.
Last year, LaDontae Henton, the team’s second-leading scorer, was charged with domestic assault after fighting with his ex-girlfriend, according to a police report obtained by WPRI.com. Those charges were eventually dropped.
In 2010, Kadeem Batts, then a redshirt freshman, was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to leave the premises outside of a downtown nightclub. At the time, the Providence Journal reported that the charges would be dismissed if Batts stayed out of trouble for six months. Batts is one of four seniors on the team this year.
Also in 2010, James Still and Johnnie Lacy were charged with felony assault after beating up a fellow student. Still was sentenced to 15 years in prison with four years to serve and Lacy was handed a three-year sentence for his role in the assault.
Lapatin said it “is still too early” to say whether anyone will be charged in the sexual assault incident. He said neither of the accused players have been interviewed by the police.
Robert Driscoll, Jr., Providence College’s athletic director, said Bullock will remain with the team in San Antonio.
“He’s done what we’ve asked him to do,” Driscoll said. “He went through the process and we’re comfortable with where it landed.”
Susan Campbell and Yianni Kourakis contributed to this report.
The original version of this report incorrectly identified Rodney Bullock as having transferred from Providence College. He remains with the team.