Commentary: Lack of accountability in Tybo Rogers case is disturbing, disappointing

You could say it was an eventful week at the University of Washington. And tonight, I have to express my utter disappointment. Because to me, the theme of the week was a total lack of accountability.

Huskies running back Tybo Rogers was arrested nine days ago and charged with two counts of rape that allegedly took place in October and November last year. Rogers was suspended by the new coaching staff as soon as they were made aware of the situation, according to head coach Jedd Fisch.

The issue is, Rogers was held out of the Pac-12 Championship Game in December shortly after the first victim filed a Title IX complaint with the university. But then, he was allowed to return to the team for the national semifinals against Texas and the championship game against Michigan in January. 

According to a statement from UW, "The criminal complaint released on April 9 by the prosecutor’s office contained information new to the University and we immediately took additional appropriate actions to address safety concerns. Had the university had this new information earlier, including the fall or winter, we would have done the same at that time."

Anyone who has read the complaint — and the details of the alleged offenses — will tell you that there’s no way Rogers should have been allowed to play in the Huskies final two games. And yet, he did. And coincidentally or not, both the head coach and athletic director who were here at the time have taken jobs elsewhere since then.  

Which brings me to Kalen DeBoer's ‘non-statement’ statement, which hid behind federal privacy laws in saying he couldn’t comment specifically about Rogers situation.

"I always have and always will follow established institutional policies and procedures to ensure prompt reporting and proper handling of allegations by the appropriate authorities," the statement read.

And yet, according to the probable cause certification from the Seattle Police Department, multiple emails were sent within the UW athletic department, confirming Rogers should be taken off the travel roster for the Pac-12 title game, but there was no written documentation of any discipline for him or reasons for the change.

And here’s the kicker: According to the same report, any text messages asking about Rogers status were always followed up with a phone call, so there are no digital records of any responses.

Meanwhile, we’ve got former AD Troy Dannen, for now refusing comment about the whole thing. According to school policy, if a student athlete is placed on administrative suspension while under investigation, any request to lift that suspension must be submitted and approved by the athletic director.

Then again, we don’t even know if there was an official administrative suspension for Rogers. After all, here are the only on-the-record quotes we have about his status – the first by then-offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, and then from DeBoer himself:

"He just wasn’t available for us. It still wasn’t like a bowl game where we travel everyone," DeBoer said in December for the reason Rogers didn’t travel to the Pac-12 title game.

"He is [in good standing]. We’re working through some things, some challenges he had off the field. I can’t comment on what it was, exactly," Grubb said in December.

In its statement on Friday, the university said all employees, including athletics personnel, acted "in accordance with applicable laws, policies and trauma-informed practices based on available information."

To some, this whole thing will reek of a player a team needed for roster depth in the most important games of the year taking priority over pretty serious allegations, and those directly in charge at the time turning a blind eye and doing their best to keep things quiet. That is because there is no documentation and no electronic responses to text messages regarding his situation.

At the very least, to me, it feels like a disservice to the alleged victims who went through proper channels to report what happened. And the way this was handled doesn’t exactly send the best message to any future victims either.

Which brings me back to my opening thought: disappointment.

Legally, I understand the need for individuals and the university to avoid being held liable or to deny culpability.


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But after reading the charging documents, seeing the timeline of events and how it was "handled" internally at the time, everything I’ve heard — or not heard — from the proper authorities at the school this week has been discouraging, to say the least.