Former Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus is suing the University of Wisconsin for “violating his due process rights, violating Title IX provisions and breach of contract,” per an Associated Press report from Tuesday.
Cephus was expelled from the University for the 2018 school year, and subsequently missed the 2018 football season, for violating the non-academic misconduct code after a Title IX investigation after he was arrested on second- and third-degree sexual assault charges.
From the AP:— Dave Heller (@dave_heller) February 23, 2021
Former Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the university that he was used as a scapegoat during a sexual assault investigation that resulted in his temporary expulsion.#Badgers
After being found not guilty on Aug. 2, 2019, Cephus petitioned the University to be readmitted to school and to be allowed to play football again. Once he was reinstated to school he rejoined the football team too and helped lead the team to the Rose Bowl. After the season he was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
According to the AP report, Cephus’ lawyer Andrew Miltenberg spoke with agents and draft analysts that said Cephus would have been selected in an earlier round if not for his expulsion.
“He wants to set a precedent so that schools are more careful and more diligent in how they proceed on these cases and not just sort of rushing ahead to judgment when they know for a fact they don’t have all the evidence,” Miltenberg said.
Cephus’ suit requests unspecified damages and includes Chancellor Rebecca Blank, the UW Board of Regents and campus Title IX coordinator Lauren Hasselbacher among the defendants. His complaint notes that his status as a football player may have led to the University trying to make an example of him:
The complaint says that Wisconsin was “seeking to push for harsh male prosecutions in order to remedy its long-standing failure to address sexual assault complaints.” The complaint adds that Cephus’ status as a well-known football player made him “the perfect candidate for the university to prove its investigative efforts and punish accused males in a high-profile way.”
“While we are reviewing the complaint filed by Mr. Cephus, we’re confident UW-Madison followed appropriate processes in this matter,” university spokesman John Lucas said in a statement.