Sources: Vanderbilt Athletic Department Ok'ed Wright for Pro Day
It's been a tumultuous week for Vanderbilt University, and it's football program in the wake of weekend announcements that two former, and one current Commodore players have been accused of the sexual assault or rape of three female students.
Former Commodores Khari Blasingame and Charles Wright, along with current player Randall Haynie were each identified by their accusers in a Twitter post on Saturday.
Only one of the accused has issued a public statement, as Nate Litwin, Blasingame's agent acknowledged the accusations and released a statement via Twitter denying the alleged assault.
“On June 19, 2020, an allegation was made against my client Khari Blasingame,” Litwin said. “We believe every woman should be heard and respected. My client had a consensual relationship with this person while they were both in college. The allegation of rape now being made more than four years later is false. No further comment will be made at this time.”
A source with knowledge of the situation states that of the three female complainants, only one reported their alleged incidents to the universities Title IX office.
Regan Siems presented her case to the Title IX office in 2018, accusing Wright of sexual assault and rape.
According to police reports obtained by Commodore Country, the Metro Nashville Police Department's Sex Crimes Unit was alerted and began an investigation in May of 2018, and closed the case in a "supplemental exceptional clearance on June 7, 2018 sighting the district attorney (Mike) Bottoms declined to prosecute the case.
Wright was found responsible for sexual assault-intercourse and sexual assault-contact in an investigation conducted by the Title IX office at Vanderbilt. Wright was expelled following the findings of the investigation.
The source also indicates that then Director of Title IX and Student Discrimination Coordinator Molly Zlock, who held that position from December 2017 until January 2020 and conducted the investigation into Wright, could face accusations of implicit bias in potential future legal proceedings.
Zlock, who joined Vanderbilt after serving in a similar role at Belmont University, was included in legal proceedings during her tenure at Belmont, where a male student accused implicit bias in a Title IX proceeding at that institution.
Head coach Derek Mason has also come under fire from fans on social media after it was reported that Wright, a fifth-year senior, was allowed to participate in the Commodores pro-day activities.
Sources with direct knowledge of told Commodore Country that Charles Wright's participation in pro days was petitioned by his family and representation to the university and its athletics department. The petition was granted that he could participate as an unaffiliated guest, and it was communicated to the Wright family from athletic department officials. It is unclear if the university communicated the approval of the petition to Siems.
Federal and state privacy law preserves the confidentiality of Title IX investigations. Coaches are not privy to the investigative facts or outcomes, that is the responsibility of the university's Title IX office.
Furthermore, coaches have no power to access or deny any student or student-athletes to come onto campus.
We are continuing to follow this story, and it will be updated as more information becomes available.