Rasheed Sulaimon, dismissed from the Duke basketball team in January, is not under investigation for sexual assault allegations.
DURHAM, N.C.—Dismissed from the Duke basketball program in January, Rasheed Sulaimon has been in the national spotlight this week because of allegations that he committed sexual assault, while the school has had to deflect inquiries of an institutional coverup.
Yet SI.com has learned that Sulaimon is not currently under investigation by the school. This was confirmed by Bob Ekstrand, who is serving as Sulaimon’s advisor. A local Durham attorney, Ekstrand reiterated that the former player is not subject to any current legal proceedings and maintains that the allegations are false.
Multiple sources say there was not one specific incident that served as the impetus for Sulaimon's dismissal. Rather it was an accumulation of events that led to that action, including a missed 11 p.m. curfew that occurred shortly before he was kicked off the team.
On Monday, Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, published a story claiming two female students told peers at two separate retreats last year that they were sexually assaulted by Sulaimon. The Chronicle reported that high-ranking figures within the Duke athletic department, including men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, became aware of these allegations as early as March 2014, roughly 10 months before Sulaimon was dismissed.
Krzyzewski and the athletic department have not publicly addressed any specifics regarding the situation, citing federal privacy laws. The university looked into allegations against Sulaimon at some point last year, SI.com has learned. The alleged victims did not file an official complaint to the school or the local police department. It is unclear if they participated in the investigation.
Sulaimon was notified when an investigation was opened, and then told weeks later that the matter was closed and the university did not have enough information to proceed.
A source tell SI.com that that was the last time Sulaimon had heard from Duke’s Office of Student Conduct in Student Affairs. There is currently no open investigation against Sulaimon, at least to his knowledge. However that should be telling: It is standard procedure for accused students to receive initial notice if an investigation is being opened against them.
The Durham Police Department confirmed that it had no report on Sulaimon.
The 20-year-old was dismissed from the team in January for what Krzyzewski described as a failure to “consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program.” Sulaimon is the first player to be dismissed by Krzyzewski in his 35-year tenure as Blue Devils coach. Sulaimon is still enrolled at Duke and in good academic standing.
The Chronicle report ignited discussion of a possible institutional coverup. This week on campus, “What did Coach K know, and when?” emerged as a popular talking point. Athletic Director Kevin White issued a statement on Tuesday, addressing the assumption Krzyzewski consciously ignored any allegations. White pledged that “procedures have been, and continue to be, followed by Coach Mike Krzyzewski and all members of the men’s basketball program. Coach Krzyzewski and his staff understand and have fulfilled their responsibilities to the university, its students and the community.”
Good Morning America and CNN were credentialed for Duke’s home finale on Wednesday night, a 94-51 win against Wake Forest. Krzyzewski routinely sidestepped any Sulaimon-related questions. The Blue Devils (27-3), a potential No. 1 seed in this month’s NCAA tournament, finish their regular season on Saturday at rival North Carolina.