The Washington Post has the scoop. Some excerpts:
A police investigation into complaints by more than 20 women that they were forced to commit a variety of sexual acts with University of Oregon football players over the past two years has led to open warfare, with the chief of police here accusing the university of impeding the probe. …
In what has become almost a case study of big-time college sports program run amok, the record at Oregon over the last year also includes bogus academic credits, an illegal travel fund and a credit card scheme in which thousands of dollars of long distance telephone calls were made illegally with a university credit card.
Eight of the women, contacted independently by representatives of The Washington Post, described the incidents in which they said they were forced to commit sexual acts with one or more football players and their reasons for failing to report the incidents promptly. “I was scared he would kill me. I know he would have hurt me,” said one of the women. Another said she received threatening telephone calls warning her against testifying before the grand jury investigating the complaints.
“I will never understand,” said [the Eugene Police Chief], “why a member of the University of Oregon athletic department, when he became aware of the alleged sex offenses, felt no moral or ethical obligation to inform any law enforcement agency nor to encourage the alleged victims to do so.
.. “Anything written on the allegations puts the entire team in a poor light at this time,” [the football coach] said last spring. “You’re not dealing with facts. It imperils the integrity of the whole football team.” University officials admit the controversy has helped undermine public confidence in the academic integrity of the institution, one of the more prestigious schools in the Pacific Northwest. In the wake of the disclosures, administrators say they are reappraising the role of athletics in an academic environment.
In response to the bogus credit disclosures, the university decided to conduct its own investigation of the athletic department, assigning law professor Peter Swan to examine department records.
… “I think some of our coaches were affected with misguided loyalties,” said Swan. “The values they have been immersed in for most of their participating and coaching lives are markedly different from the values that the people in the English department, the law school or the history department might have.
“They work harder than hell and they’re great guys. But they operate under extreme pressure and they come from an environment that is different from what other people in the university might have. When college sports crossed over the line from athletics to entertainment, then it began borrowing values from the world of professional sports.”
Lane County District Attorney Pat Horton … contends that the assaults are being downplayed by the university and the local press in order to protect the reputation of the city and the university. “I’m tired of hearing about the ‘poor athletes, poor coaches, poor fans,'” says Horton. “What about the poor victims. Nobody has any sympathy for them.
“I get supporters of the team telling me I should lay off. But if one of their daughters came home and said, ‘Daddy, four football players broke into my room and raped me. Daddy, I need a psychologist now. And Daddy, I’m dropping out of school.’ Daddy wouldn’t be telling me to lay off. He’d be down here pounding on my desk shouting for justice.”
In the wake of almost a year of controversy, Oregon, like other institutions, is reassessing the role of athletics and the premium placed on winning.
Sure we are. The Washington Post published this story in 1980.