SAN DIEGO — San Diego State University’s athletic director and football coach were hoping to answer questions about their opening game at Snapdragon Stadium during a news conference Monday. But instead, they were repeatedly asked about an investigation into an allegation that a few players, including former Aztec punter Matt Araiza, gang raped a 17-year-old.
With the civil suit filed and the Buffalo Bills cutting Araiza over the weekend, the news conference quickly switched gears.
Athletic director JD Wicker and Aztecs head football coach Brady Hoke walked out of the news conference after making their opening statement about the alleged incident, not wanting to take any questions on the matter.
About 10 minutes later, Wicker returned by himself to take the questions head-on, laying out their timeline of events. In it, Wicker said SDPD asked them not to conduct their own investigation out of fear of jeopardizing the criminal investigation.
“You always want to get to the bottom of allegations as quickly as you can, and this wasn’t just an athletic department decision; this was a decision that was made across the board at the administrative levels of the institution to allow this process to go forward,” Wicker said. “And again, I still firmly believe that allowing SDPD to handle the investigation of this was the right way to go.”
The campus has been criticized for not taking immediate action. One action the athletic department did take was inviting rape survivor Brenda Tracy — who tours the country talking to college football teams about sexual misconduct — to address the football team in a mandatory meeting 17 days after SDSU received the initial report. SDSU says it was just part of training as a student-athlete.
“One of our pillars is to create great human beings, and it’s hard when the training you provide may not have been enough,” Wicker said. “We do great things, we have great student-athletes in this building, we have great coaches, we have great staff who do a phenomenal job. And as we all know, the actions of a few can potentially harm the greater group. So right now, I’m interested to hopefully see what the DA has to say, I’m interested to see what our investigation turns out, and we’ll move on from there.”
At the news conference, SDSU handed out a six-page document on their timeline of events.
SDPD has concluded their investigation and turned over their findings to the district attorney. The DA says their case is “under review” and can’t comment more on the matter.