Sports Illustrated today produced new information about what University of Oregon men's basketball coach Dana Altman did last year after one of his players, Kavell Bigby-Williams, was accused of rape in Wyoming.
The SI story, written by University of Oregon Emerald student journalist Kenny Jacoby, appears to contradict claims university officials made earlier about who knew what when about the allegations against Bigby-Williams.
Jacoby originally broke the story in the Emerald of Bigby-Williams, a highly-recruited junior college standout who played the entire 2016-17 season while under investigation for a rape he allegedly committed while visiting his former campus in Wyoming. (The Ducks reached the Final Four.)
Jacoby then followed up on the story for Sports Illustrated, showing that University of Oregon officials possessed significant information about the rape allegations but failed to follow their own policies and procedures regarding such allegations.
University officials told Jacoby earlier that Altman was walled off from the details of the investigation of his prize recruit.
"UO previously stated Altman was aware police were looking into Bigby-Williams but didn't know what it was about, and did not know the nature of the allegation," Jacoby writes.
As part of his earlier investigation, Jacoby requested Altman's cell phone records, which are public record because the coach is a public employee and his phone is paid for with public money.
It took the university 103 days to produce the records and officials charged Jacoby $439.59 for them.
Those records showed that Altman made a flurry of phone calls around the time university officials learned about the rape allegation:
"In the first 48 hours after school officials learned of the police investigation into Bigby-Williams, Altman had five phone calls with Lisa Peterson, the school's deputy Title IX coordinator, and another four phone calls with Bigby-Williams's former coach at Gillette College, Shawn Neary," Jacoby writes. "Both Peterson and Neary had direct knowledge of the criminal investigation into Bigby-Williams, and UO failed to disclose these contacts both to SI and in its letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who demanded more information about UO's handling of the case in response to SI's reporting."
A university spokesman told Jacoby that those calls don't prove anything about what Altman did or didn't know.
"The information in Coach Altman's phone records in no way contradicts what has been said all along: the university did not, through its Title IX office or others, share information about the Bigby-Williams investigation with the coaching staff," U of O spokesman Tobin Klinger told Jacoby.
"Although Coach Altman had phone conversations with the head basketball coach from Wyoming, the primary focus was on whether the Wyoming police at the time had pressed charges and did not cover details of the underlying allegation."