12-02-2016  10:08 am      •     
University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson, left, and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Rob Mullens answer questions about the status of students investigated for sexual assault, during a news conference in Eugene, Ore. May 9. Former University of Oregon basketball player Brandon Austin has filed a lawsuit against the school and four administrators alleging they damaged his prospects of playing in the NBA because of the investigation. (Chris Pietsch/The Register Guard via AP, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Former Oregon player Brandon Austin filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the school and four administrators alleging they damaged his prospects of playing in the NBA.

Austin was among three Oregon players who were kicked off the team and barred from campus after a woman accused them of rape last year.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Lane County Circuit Court, lawyers for Austin say he was wrongly accused and was denied a chance to adequately defend himself in university disciplinary proceedings.

Lane County prosecutors declined to charge the players following the March 2014 incident, saying there was insufficient evidence. The players say the sexual encounter at an off-campus party was consensual.

Austin seeks $7.5 million for alleged civil rights violations, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with economic relations and breach of contract. The lawsuit names the university along with former President Michael Gottfredson; Sandy Weintraub, director of student conduct and community standards;

Chicora Martin, the former assistant dean of students; and Robin Holmes, vice president for student life.

"Prior to defendants' actions, Mr. Austin was regarded as one of the top amateur basketball players in the United States of America...and widely projected to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, which would more likely than not be accompanied by a multi-million dollar contract and tens of millions of dollars in prospective economic advantage," wrote Austin's lawyers, Alan Milstein of Moorestown, New Jersey, and Marianne Dugan of Eugene.

Austin no-longer plays at an NCAA Division I school, has diminished chances of playing in the NBA and has to suffer the disgrace of being accused of sexual assault, the lawyers wrote.

"It is unfortunate the Mr. Austin has decided to pursue this type of lawsuit, and we intend to vigorously defend the university," university spokesman Tobin Klinger said in an interview. "We're confident Mr. Austin was afforded fair and consistent due process that fully complied with the university's legal obligations."
In August, the university agreed to pay the alleged victim $800,000 to settle a lawsuit, along with her tuition, housing and fees for four years.

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