Former University of Kentucky football player Lloyd Tubman was kicked off the team and expelled from campus in 2014 as three UK tribunals found him responsible for sexual misconduct in an alleged rape case. But this weekend, he’ll be back at Commonwealth Stadium, playing for Austin Peay University.
The alleged victim’s lawyer is outraged.
“I was deeply disappointed to learn, despite the fact that Mr. Tubman’s disciplinary hearing is still pending, that UK allowed Mr. Tubman on campus this week; even more discouragingly, UK failed to take the simple step of notifying my client that he would be on campus,” Louisville attorney Elizabeth Howell said. “Failure to take such a simple step lays bare UK’s deliberate indifference to victims of sexual assault on their campus and reflects campus rape culture.”
Howell said her client, who no longer attends UK, receives criticism and abuse on social media about Tubman and wanted to be prepared.
UK spokesman Jay Blanton declined to comment on the matter, citing student record confidentiality. Austin Peay spokesman Kevin Young said Thursday that his school had discussed the matter with UK’s legal department and that Tubman was allowed to be on campus for the game.
As a freshman, Tubman was arrested in 2014 on a rape charge, but a grand jury later declined to indict him. He has maintained his innocence and has appealed each of three administrative Title IX hearings in which he was found responsible for sexual misconduct. He has since been granted a fourth hearing, but it has never been scheduled. Blanton said he couldn’t comment on when the fourth hearing would be held.
The Title IX hearings, which must take place within 60 days of a complaint, are decided based on a preponderance of evidence, which means a violation was more likely to have been committed than not. Grand juries issue indictments based on probable cause, which means there is enough evidence to continue legal proceedings. At trial, a jury must decide whether a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Title IX is the federal guarantee of equal access to education regardless of gender.
Howell filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against UK on behalf of Jane Doe, who was a UK student at the time of the alleged rape. The lawsuit says that Jane Doe was re-victimized each time Tubman was allowed to appeal the findings of his disciplinary hearings, citing procedural problems. In August, U.S. District Judge Joseph Hood denied UK’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that “it is undisputed that the university bungled the disciplinary hearings so badly, so inexcusably, that it necessitated three appeals and reversals in an attempt to remedy the due-process deficiencies.”
The case underscores the complications that have arisen over new rules on campus sexual assault required under Title IX. The new rules have prompted a flurry of civil rights lawsuits on behalf of victims and the accused.
Young said Tubman was extensively interviewed about the case before joining Austin Peay’s team and that he has been “fully integrated” into the team.
In an interview in August with the Leaf Chronicle newspaper in Clarksville, Tenn., where Austin Peay is located, Tubman continued to maintain his innocence.
In the same article, Athletics Director Ryan Ivey said: “We are in the business of changing, impacting and molding our student-athletes’ lives, and Lloyd Tubman’s story is no different. He is a Gov and will be held to the same standard as all of our student-athletes are held to. We believe in Lloyd’s character and think he will flourish here at Austin Peay.”