The rugby club’s ban was lifted before its match against UC Davis on Feb. 1.
Update 12:46 p.m., Feb. 13.
Cal Poly rugby club head coach David Burnett gave the following statement regarding his team:
“The individuals of whom these allegations have been directed at have been in full cooperation with the SLO PD detectives since the beginning of the investigation,” Burnett said in an email. “These individuals have also fully cooperated with the Cal Poly Office of Students Rights & Responsibilities in their investigation.”
The club travels to Arizona State for a cross-conference match this Sunday before returning home on Feb. 22 for week 2 of the D1A National Championship against rival UC Santa Barbara. The Mustangs rank No.11 on USA Rugby’s top 20.
The Cal Poly Dean of Students Office lifted the suspension from the five rugby club members who were allegedly involved in an assault this past month, university spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email.
However, with the university investigation still ongoing, the Dean of Students Office will still put one or all the members back on probation if incriminating evidence is found.
“The Dean’s Office reserved the right to put the players out of action again if any new evidence comes to light while the investigation is being finalized,” Lazier wrote.
The ban was lifted in time for the rugby club’s match against UC Davis on Feb. 1. Cal Poly won 37-5.
According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD), the five team members allegedly assaulted an individual at a residency on Foothill Drive around 2 a.m. on Jan. 12.
The victim told officers in charge of the investigation that he was punched and hit with bottles, SLOPD Capt. Chris Staley said.
With the SLOPD investigation over, the assault case should have gone to the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office. Several calls were made to the office to see if they accepted the case. They did not respond.
Whether or not the suspects will be prosecuted is determined at the district attorney’s office.
Cal Poly administration was informed of the assault several days after it occurred. Cal Poly’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities responded by placing the entire team on suspension from all rugby-related activities, including their match against UC Santa Cruz.
The team-wide ban was lifted Jan. 21, according to Lazier. The five members remained barred from rugby games until the UC Davis game.
According to Lazier, the university investigation is in its final stages.
The SLOPD and university investigations are completely separate procedures. Though SLOPD often gives the university the results of their investigation to help the process, the university has its own system of filing charges and determining punishments.
First, an investigation is conducted. If the university finds grounds to charge the student or students, they will have an administrator meet with them to discuss the claims and possibly reach a resolution immediately.
If a resolution is not met at this stage, then the university schedules a hearing. These hearings are similar to generic court hearings — the accused and the accuser present their evidence and make their case. An informal resolution can still be reached at this point.
If a resolution is not reached, the hearing officer in charge of the hearing would submit an informational report to the university president. The president then makes the final decision.