Local News

Duke tight-lipped about sexual assault allegations against former player Rasheed Sulaimon

Posted March 2, 2015 1:13 p.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2015 3:04 p.m. EST

— Duke University leaders had nothing to add Monday to a report in the student newspaper that linked former basketball player Rasheed Sulaimon to sexual assaults on two female students. Sulaimon, a junior in good academic standing, was dismissed from the basketball team Jan. 29.

Monday's issue of The Chronicle cited conversations at student-led diversity events during the 2013-14 school year as the source of the allegations. No formal criminal complaint is on file with school or law enforcement authorities to back up the claims.

Durham attorney Bob Ekstrand, who told WRAL News he is providing advice to Sulaimon, said he believes the accusations to be false.

Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, released this statement:

"Duke is prohibited by law from disclosing publicly any particular student's confidential education records. The university takes immediate action when it receives reports of alleged sexual misconduct or other violations of the student conduct code, which includes investigation and referral to the Student Conduct Office for review in a timely manner as required by law. Duke also takes every possible action internally to ensure anyone who raises a complaint of sexual misconduct is supported and the campus community is safe."

Chronicle reporters Emma Baccellieri and Nick Martin talked to an unnamed source affiliated with the basketball program, who told them head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and some of his staff were aware of the allegations as early as March 2014.

University Director of Athletics Kevin White issued his statement on the report on Tuesday, outlining how athletics intersects with student conduct but without comment specifically on Suliamon.

White said:

"Any allegation of student misconduct that is brought to the attention of our staff and coaches is immediately referred to the Office of Student Conduct in Student Affairs, which has responsibility for upholding the Duke code of conduct. The athletics department does not investigate or adjudicate matters of student conduct and cooperates completely in the process. These investigations are conducted thoroughly, in a timely manner, and with great care to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all students involved. Those procedures have been, and continue to be, followed by Coach Mike Krzyzewski and all members of the men's basketball program. Coach Krzyzewski and his staff understand and have fulfilled their responsibilities to the university, its students and the community. As specified by federal law and university policy, all Duke officials, including Coach Krzyzewski, are prohibited from commenting publicly on any specific individual or situation."

In dismissing Sulaimon, a move he had never used in his Duke career, Krzyzewski said, “It is a privilege to represent Duke University and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.”

Sources at the time said Sulaimon was not dismissed for any single incident, but rather that it was a pattern of conduct and attitude issues that built through this two and half years on the team.

Coach K was asked several times about the report in a conference call Monday with sports reporters and three times said he'd have no comment.