Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino on Reggie Lynch: “We never saw any red flags leading up to this”

Multiple outlets reported Thursday night that Lynch had violated the school’s sexual misconduct code and was facing suspension.

Head coach Richard Pitino directs the team from the sideline on Thursday, Nov. 2 at Williams Arena.

Courtney Deutz

Head coach Richard Pitino directs the team from the sideline on Thursday, Nov. 2 at Williams Arena.

Jack Warrick and Max Biegert

University of Minnesota basketball center Reggie Lynch is suspended, Gophers Athletics Director Mark Coyle announced Friday. Multiple outlets reported Thursday night Lynch had violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy.

Lynch will still practice with the basketball team, Coyle said Friday afternoon. Coyle offered few details on the suspension and the reasons behind it, citing student privacy laws.

“People should trust the procedures that we have in place,” Coyle said. 

The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune reported Thursday night that Lynch was facing suspension from the University of Minnesota until 2020 for a sexual misconduct violation stemming from an incident in April 2016. He has until Tuesday to appeal.

The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action recommended the suspension after an investigation. This is the second investigation by the EOAA into Lynch for sexual misconduct, the Pioneer Press reported. The first took place in May 2016, following an incident Lynch was arrested for. He was cleared of any wrongdoing in August.

In response to whether men’s basketball head coach Richard Pitino should have suspended Lynch earlier, Pitino said he met with Coyle and they followed the policies in place. Coyle said he made the decision to suspend Lynch on Friday.

Pitino said there were no “red flags” before Friday’s suspension. On Twitter, University alumna and sexual assault survivor Abby Honold said she spoke to multiple women who have been assaulted by Lynch.

“Gopher athletics knew about Reggie Lynch & his behavior from the beginning,” Honold tweeted Thursday night. “I literally sat them down last year & brought it to their attention even further. They know there are multiple victims. They knew about this active report. They still did nothing.”

On Friday, Coyle said he had met with Honold and discussed training for Gophers athletes but did not comment on allegations against Lynch.

Lynch will still be able to practice with the team, but will not be playing in Saturday’s game against Indiana.  Coyle and Pitino said they aren’t sure when Lynch’s suspension will be lifted.

“My biggest focus is got to get the guys ready tomorrow to play,” Pitino said. “That’s what I have to do moving forward.”