Rape charges were filed Thursday morning against Texas receivers Kendall Sanders, a junior and projected starter, and Montrel Meander, a promising redshirt freshman.
Sanders faces an additional charge of improper photography for allegedly taking a cell phone picture of the assault.
The rush to judgment is on after the release of a criminal affidavit full of horrifying allegations from the alleged victim and their subsequent, indefinite suspensions by Strong.
You're innocent until proven guilty. But everyone goes through hell in these cases.
If the accusations are true, the victim's life can be turned upside down forever.
If the accusations are false, the suspects are often still guilty in the court of public opinion.
All the families involved end up shattered as well.
There are a few other things to consider with this case that could impact decision-making going forward:
1) Charlie Strong's list of 5 core values, which include treating women with respect. (More on that in a second.)
2) The heightened awareness of such cases on campus after the Jameis Winston investigation last year - and subsequent news reports that there wasn't much of an investigation at all.
3) There is also heightened awareness after the May release by the U.S. Department of Education of more than 50 universities being investigated for potential Title IX violations over the handling of rape allegations on campus.
Texas was not on that list.
But the heightened awareness is undoubtedly why you saw Texas president Bill Powers jump out front with a statement commending the UT police department for "conducting a fair and thorough investigation and Coach Strong for making a decision that is in the best interest of his team and the university."
It is the first major team crisis under Strong, who vows that players who violate his 5 core values - 1) Honesty; 2) Treat women with respect; 3) No drugs; 4) No stealing; 5) No guns - will be gone.
If the claims by the alleged victim in the criminal affidavit are factual, the players have seen their last day in a Texas football uniform and may soon be expelled from school.
But if there was consensual sex going on involving both Meander and Sanders with the alleged victim until Sanders took a flash picture with his cell phone (as described in the affidavit) against her will, then Sanders has still violated Strong's No. 2 core value.
In my opinion, Sanders is gone. And because of the contents of the criminal affidavit, Meander is gone by association or likely to transfer.
Meander's potentially life-changing mistake was ever allowing Sanders into his room after having what was described in the affidavit as consensual sex with the alleged victim.
If Strong digs a little, he'll find the DWI arrest of Sanders at 5:10 am CT on Saturday, April 6, 2013, after driving to College Station to attend Chilifest and leaving a party there after mouthing off to some Aggies.
No surprise that Sanders ends up getting arrested by Texas A&M University police officers.
If you talk to people who know Sanders, he is definitely described as lacking common sense.
Strong has already kicked two players off the team for what we were told were failed drug tests after Strong specifically warned those players (FB Chet Moss and S Leroy Scott, a potential starter).
At Big 12 Media Days, Strong said, “If you don’t want to be a part of this football team, then break a core value, starter or no starter.”
Strong's core value stance, and the current climate leads me to believe both players are done at Texas. Even if innocent of the charges, it may be in their best interests to move on from Austin and start over somewhere else.
MY TAKE: On rape charges facing UT receivers
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