San Diego State football coach Brady Hawk and athletic director J.D. Wicker met with the media on Monday and provided statements addressing the gang rape allegations that led to buffalo bills To release former Aztec gambler Matt Ariza on Saturday.
Then the two left the press conference amid repeated questions about the allegations after asking the media to limit inquiries to field topics. Wicker later returned to answer questions without Hawke.
Hook and Wicker opened the press conference with their statement. Wicker said players Xavier Leonard and Nolin “Pa” Iwaliko – who were accused last week in a civil lawsuit along with Ariza of gang rape of a minor in 2021 – are no longer with the team. According to the suit, the three players sexually assaulted a 17-year-old who attended an off-campus party in October 2021 at Ariza’s residence.
Ariza, an all-American, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills before being released Saturday after a civil lawsuit was filed. Wicker declined to provide details of Iwaliko and Leonard’s situation and said he would not answer questions about them.
“To be absolutely clear, we take allegations of sexual assault seriously and do not support any actions or behaviors that would harm others,” Wicker said. … “We will not under any circumstances support an environment that supports abusive behavior.”
Then Hawke followed up with his statement.
“What was said to have happened should never have happened,” Hook said. “Absolutely. It shouldn’t happen to anyone. What was important to us was that anyone who breaks or violates the law or university policies, will be held accountable.”
Hook and Wicker declined to discuss specifics about accountability or discipline, citing ongoing police and university investigations. The two then opened their press conference to questions while asking reporters to limit their questions to football as the Aztecs prepare for their inaugural Saturday season against Arizona.
per video Introduction of the 97.3 fan, Wicker directed the interrogation about disciplinary policy to a university webpage titled IX while reading from a prepared statement. He continued to dismiss inquiries about the topic, including a question about the reason for the program Activist and activist Brenda Tracy has invited gang rape survivor Brenda Tracy to speak to the team in 2021.
“Once again, we’ll be getting match-related questions this weekend,” Wicker said. “If there is nothing, we will end the press conference.”
Hawke answered a football-related question but remained silent throughout the interrogation about the alleged gang rape. Wicker continued to cite privacy rights and refer media to the Title IX webpage as questions continued. After more than five minutes, Wicker called for the press conference to end. Then Wicker and Hook left the room.
Wicker later returned to answer questions, including why the show invited Tracy to speak with the team.
“We have brought in Brenda Tracy in connection with an incident that we have been told the Pacific Police Department was investigating,” Wicker said. “We brought it in to further the education of our student-athletes.”
Wicker said that the names of the alleged perpetrators of the gang rape had not been transferred to the program at that time. Wicker then took up a question about reports that SDSU had previously known about Ariza’s alleged involvement in the assault.
“Anonymous reports, rumors, gossip, whatever,” Wicker said. “We did not receive confirmation from anyone involved in the incident until the civil lawsuit was dropped.
“Obviously we were very concerned about the alleged report. And again we felt the San Diego Police Department had the best chance of succeeding in adjudicating this matter, and that’s what we went for. It was also a matter of jurisdiction because it was an off-campus party. .”
He also said that SDSU initially refused to investigate the allegations at the request of the SDPD.
“The Department of Planning and Social Development asked us not to investigate,” Wicker continued. “If we start asking questions, you can alert someone.”
Wicker described a report in the Los Angeles Times that an unidentified student-athlete had called in a tip amid concern that the program was trying to wipe the story under the rug as “completely untrue.”
“It’s not at all true that we beat this up because it was football – because we’ve had a successful season,” Wicker said. “This is not what we are. This is not what I am.”
Hook did not return to the press conference to answer questions about the alleged assault. Wicker said it was his decision to go back to the press conference alone.
Ariza family issues a statement
Areeza’s parents said, on Monday, through a statement, that their son is innocent of the charge of sexual assault, and that their family has become the subject of threats since the story spread widely.
from KUSIStatement text:
“He has been blackmailed, discriminated against, harassed and subjected to multiple and constant threats of violence and death. He was released from his job and our entire family continues to receive horrific threats of violence and death.”
After being cut off Saturday from the bills, Arizah insisted his innocence.