Washington coach Lorenzo Romar addressed the media today at his weekly press conference. He began with an opening statement acknowledging the Seattle Police sexual assault investigation involving a 16-year-old girl and a UW student-athlete.
He fielded 12 questions about the investigation, but declined to provide any specifics. He did not identify the athlete, however, in his opening comment alluded to the suspect as being a member of the basketball team.
Romar said every player will travel to the Bay Area for Thursday’s game at Stanford and Sunday’s game at California. He said there’s no change in the starting lineup, which includes: Aziz N’Diaye, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday, Isaiah Thomas and Venoy Overton.
Romar said Abdul Gaddy, who tore his left ACL last week, will undergo surgery Friday.
Romar touched on Thomas moving to point guard and winning the Pac-10 Player of the Week award. He spoke about playing at Stanford, Cardinal freshman guard and former Bellevue High standout Aaron Bright, the rare Sunday games and the Seattle Seahawks.
Before the press conference, Romar had not met with the UW players as a team and was unsure how they were handling the investigation.
Here’s a transcript of Romar talking about the investigation:
(Opening statement) “Well I’m going to start off saying a couple of things. The first is we’ve been informed there is an investigation about an allegation regards to one of our student-athletes. And I want you to know it’s something that we take very seriously at this point. I’m going to repeat that, it’s very serious. However, there is not nearly enough information at this point for us to determine what’s going to be done here. Right now we just have to give it a little bit more time to decide what’s going to come of this. Beyond that I’m not going to say much more about it. There are a lot of things I’m not good at, but I am pretty good at not saying much more about it if I say I’m not going to say much more about it. And I know that you’d like to know some things, but I just can’t.
“The second thing is Abdul Gaddy is going to have surgery to repair his ACL this Friday, which is good in that he can get his knee repaired and get back to where he’s playing good basketball again. Beyond that ready to take any questions you have in regards to our basketball season.”
(As a mentor to the players, what do you tell them in terms of their off-court behavior?) “In terms of behavior, this is something that we – different issues, we always address all kind of different things as a team. Sometimes things will happen elsewhere, you can use it as a teaching point with your own group. Individual sessions. Sessions on the road. Sessions in the airport where you’re just talking. Myself and my staff, we don’t have type of relationship with our kids – me as a head coach – where we only meet when there is an appointment. We have on-going talks. So there are a number of different topics and issues. Issues that are addressed in many different forms with our group.”
(Is the school doing it’s own investigation?) “I could answer his question, but I’m just not going to answer any of those. I made my statement about that.”
(How do you prevent something like this from becoming a distraction to the team?) “That’s a good question. With our group, there are things that you battle all the time. This is unique, but that can be a distraction to your team. Again it’s something that is on-going and hopefully, you’ve talked with your team, you have a relationship with your team enough when something happens, you’re prepared somewhat to deal with it. You haven’t covered everything. There’s some situations that arise in sports and family situations that just haven’t happened to you before. It’s the first time and you have to deal with that. There’s some situations there’s not necessarily a manual for it. I think we have a together group and whatever happens with our group, we usually deal with it together.”
(Are you like a parent and when the players are gone you dread the phone call fearing someone may have gotten in trouble?) “You know how it is with your own kids. Hey we’re going to go out. We’re going to go to a ballgame. We’re going to go a birthday party or whatever you’re going to do and we’ll be back by 10. At 10:05, you’re wondering maybe they got caught by a red light. At 10:10, well maybe … I think it’s like that at any time withing a team situation guys are more closer to adults. But I think with your kids, even our own kids are older and you still somewhat if you’re around a lot you still want to make sure everything is OK with them. My wife is older than 20 that’s for sure and if she’s gone too long, I’m concerned about that. Anyone close to you, you’re always concerned what’s going on with them.”
(Will all the players travel to Stanford and will everyone practice?) “Yes.”
(What is the school policy for various stages of investigation?) “I’m not totally sure. We have a handbook that I haven’t consulted yet. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure.”
(Who would make those calls?) “That would probably be a question you might ask (UW athletic director) Scott Woodward.”
(Is there a concern something like this could derail what has been a fantastic start to the season?) “We will see. Adversity, it’s always interesting how people handle it. Always interesting. So we will see.”
(When did you learn of the investigation?) “I’m thinking if I could just write no comment. You probably know the ones I’m going to say no comment on. Although a couple of you have some smooth ones.”
(When someone is under investigation and that person hasn’t been identified, does it indite the whole team?) “Publicly maybe it could. I don’t know.”
(In your nine years, is one of the most challenging experiences?) “Well I’m going to refrain from answering that one as well.”
(What is your response to what the alleged victim is maybe going through?) “I’m not going to comment at this point.”