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LSU did nothing to correct problem of athletic officials keeping allegations against athletes in-house, second USA Today article says

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 9:39 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The second investigative article published in one month by the national newspaper USA Today claims LSU had knowledge top officials in its athletic department violated Title IX policies in the past and has done nothing to correct the problem since being notified two years ago.

USA Today cites a November 2018 report by LSU’s lead Title IX investigator in which two athletic officials admitted to steering allegations against student-athletes to a senior associate athletic director instead of LSU’s Title IX coordinator, as required by the university’s policy.

Those two athletic officials, deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and football recruiting director Sharon Lewis, have both been promoted within the university since 2018, the national newspaper reports.

USA Today claims the directive to report sexual misconduct allegations to senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar instead of the Title IX office came from former LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, according to documents provided by the university to the national newspaper.

RELATED: LSU hires law firm to review policies after investigative report claims university mishandled sexual misconduct complaints against students, top athletes

Alleva told the LSU athletic department staff in 2016 and 2018 of their responsibility to report sexual misconduct allegations but told them to report the allegations to either Segar or the athletic department’s human resources manager.

Ausberry told LSU’s Title IX investigators when a female student came to him about being abused by football player Drake Davis, he told her he “didn’t want to hear any more” and instructed her to talk to Segar.

Segar acknowledged to the university’s Title IX investigators she never returned that student’s phone call, the USA Today article says.

The Title IX investigator found Lewis responsible for violating LSU’s Title IX policy because she failed to report the allegations against Davis to anyone when she was informed about them in 2016, the report says.

Lewis’ attorney told USA Today that she has not been disciplined by the university for failing to report the allegations.

The Title IX report did not specify whether Ausberry or Lewis were investigated by the university. An LSU spokesperson declined to answer a question by USA Today about whether the two officials were ever investigated but the university. However, the spokesperson told USA Today neither Ausberry nor Lewis were found responsible by LSU.

USA Today claimed Tom Galligan, who became LSU’s interim president on Jan. 1, did not identify one step the university has taken since 2018 to address the issues identified by the Title IX investigator.

“We remind people that everybody who is a responsible party has an obligation to report,” Galligan told USA Today. “We’ve probably done the same things for the last few years but tried to do them – tried to emphasize. Certainly we’re emphasizing them now.”

Lewis was promoted from assistant athletic director to associate athletic director in August and remains head of LSU’s football recruiting.

Ausberry was promoted to executive deputy athletic director and executive director of external relations for the university in July 2019. He earns $500,000 a year, and is on the committee that will select LSU’s new president, according to USA Today.

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