Yale basketball’s Jack Montague scandal, explained

Yale’s men’s basketball team, which upset Baylor in the first round of the NCAA tournament, won the Ivy League championship a month after team captain Jack Montague was expelled. 
Publish date:

In February, Yale basketball captain Jack Montague was expelled from the school after a university panel ruled he was guilty of sexual misconduct. 

Since his expulsion, Yale's basketball team won the Ivy League championship to qualify for the NCAA tournament. On Thursday, Yale upset Baylor in the first round of the tournament. As the Bulldogs have risen to prominence, Montague's alleged sexual misconduct has become a national story. 

Montague, a senior who averaged 9.7 points per game this season, last played in the Bulldogs’ Feb. 6 game against Cornell and officially withdrew from school on Feb. 10. The school announced on Feb. 24 that he would not return. Montague attended Thursday’s tournament win over Baylor as a spectator. 

When did the controversy start?

For the Feb. 26 game against Harvard, Montague’s teammates warmed up in shirts with his nickname (“Gucci”) and number (4) on the back. The following week, posters appeared around the Yale campus featuring photos of the warmup shirts, with the phrase “Yale men’s basketball, stop supporting a rapist.”

The posters sparked speculation that Montague’s departure was due to a sexual assault allegation, but the rumors weren’t confirmed until The New York Times reported on March 9 that Montague’s expulsion “was in connection with a sexual misconduct accusation.” 

What is Montague accused of?

A female Yale student alleged that Montague had non-consensual sex with her in October 2014, Montague's lawyer said in a March 14 statement. Montague was expelled from Yale in February after the Yale University–Wide Committee ruled that the sexual encounter was non–consensual. 

In his statement, Montague's lawyer also said that his client had a relationship with the female Yale student in the fall of 2014 and that they slept together four times. 

“The sole dispute is as to the sexual intercourse in the fourth episode,” Montague’s lawyer, Max Stern, wrote. “She stated that she did not consent to it. He said that she did.”

The woman reported the incident to the school’s Title IX office in November 2015, the Yale Daily News reported. She has not spoken publicly about the incident. 

Montague will sue the school, Stern said

Is Montague facing criminal charges?

New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman told SI.com on March 4 that the department has not received a sexual assault complaint from Yale, nor is there a report naming Montague as either a victim or perpetrator.

“To my knowledge, there is no sexual assault complaint outside our agency,” Hartman added.

How have Montague’s former teammates reacted?

After initially supporting Montague with the display against Harvard, the Bulldogs have pedaled back their support of Montague. On March 9, the team released a statement apologizing for backing Montague. 

“Yale Men’s Basketball fully supports a healthy, safe and respectful campus climate where all students can flourish. Our recent actions to show our support for one of our former teammates were not intended to suggest otherwise, but we understand that to many students they did. We apologize for the hurt we have caused and we look forward to learning and growing from these recent incidents. As student representatives of Yale we hope to use our positions on and off the court in a way that can make everyone proud.”

What is Yale’s history of dealing with sexual assault?

In March 2011, 16 women filed a complaint against Yale alleging the school violated Title IX by failing to eliminate a “hostile sexual environment on campus.” The complaint was related, in part, to a chant by fraternity pledges endorsing sexual assault. 

The case was resolved in June 2012. As part of the resolution, Yale was required to improve its resources for sexual assault victims and periodically assess its efforts. 

Image placeholder title

Yale will face Duke on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16.