‘Very concerning’: UW students, staff question response to football player accused of rape

Apr 10, 2024, 3:56 PM | Updated: Apr 11, 2024, 2:42 pm

Image: Fans look on and cheer before the UW Huskies' game against Oregon at Husky Stadium in Seattl...

Fans look on and cheer before the UW Huskies' game against Oregon at Husky Stadium in Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Photo: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)

(Photo: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)

Some students and faculty at the University of Washington (UW) are expressing alarm at the school’s treatment of a Husky football player who has been charged with raping two women.

New details emerging from court documents indicate UW officials were aware of at least one rape accusation against 18-year-old running back Tylin “Tybo” Rogers last fall, during the height of the Huskies’ historic season and run to the CFP National Championship game.

After briefly suspending Rogers, school officials reportedly allowed him to return to the team and play in both the Sugar Bowl against Texas and the CFP title game against Michigan in January. While he didn’t have a significant role in the offense in either of the postseason games, he played and recorded 32 yards on eight touches.

More on the accusations: UW football player charged with raping two women

These revelations are not sitting well with some at the university.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re winning a football championship. I think holding everybody the same standards is really important,” UW student Sixtine Gurrey said.

Larry Kessler, a professor at the UW School of Public Health, agreed.

“Multiple allegations of rape should be taken very seriously, particularly in this climate,” he told KIRO Newsradio Wednesday, a day after Rogers was formally charged. “That makes this extra concerning that the University of Washington allowed this young man to play.”

Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers arrested Rogers Friday, at a location down the road from Husky Stadium. The charges of second- and third-degree rape stem from two assaults that allegedly occurred last October and November in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and U-District neighborhoods.

Court documents indicate the two women involved are both college students, but did not know each other. One is identified as a 19-year-old who attended Seattle Central Community College. The other is a 22-year-old UW undergraduate student. According to prosecutors, Rogers connected with both women through the dating app Tinder.

UW player suspended, then reinstated after first rape accusation

One of the women reported her rape in late October, according to prosecutors. The next month, Rogers was suspended from the team for “personal issues,” per charging documents. At the time, UW Offensive Coordinator Ryan Grubb told reporters Rogers was “working through some things, some challenges he’s had off the field,” according to The Associated Press. Grubb is now the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator.

It’s not confirmed whether the coaches knew about the assault allegations. However, multiple emails obtained through a search warrant were sent within the UW Athletic Department during that time period, confirming Rogers should be taken off the travel roster for the PAC 12 Championship game on Dec. 1, 2023. Rogers returned to team activities and practices by mid-December. He suited up for both the Sugar Bowl and CFP National Championship game on Jan. 1 and Jan. 8.

Gurrey says the university’s handling of Rogers’ situation is disappointing, but not shocking to her.

“I also went to the University of Florida, at a time when our football team was really good, too,” she said. “There were a lot of allegations against our football players at the time. I feel like it’s pretty common, actually.”

2023 message from the attorney general Washington rape kit backlog has been cleared

She added that she only heard about the incident from media reports this week. To her knowledge, UW officials have not provided any communication to students or staff about the matter.

“I just hope, for this case and for future cases, that the university can be transparent about their process and how they manage and triage this kind of information as it comes to light,” she said.

When asked for comment, UW’s Athletic Department provided the following statement to KIRO Newsradio:

“The University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletics Department is aware of the arrest of a football student-athlete by the Seattle Police Department. The student-athlete has been suspended from all team activities until further notice. The UW will continue to gather facts and cooperate with law enforcement, as requested.”

Former UW Football coach Kalen DeBoer, who coached Rogers, sent the following statement to KIRO Newsradio on Thursday:

“While I am not able to comment specifically on the situation involving an individual at my former institution because of federal privacy laws and the ongoing criminal matters, I do want to make it clear that I take any allegation of sexual misconduct very seriously. I always have and always will follow established institutional policies and procedures to ensure prompt reporting and proper handling of allegations by the appropriate authorities.”

Rogers is out of custody after posting a $300,000 bail. He is set to be arraigned April 18.

You can read more of Kate Stone’s stories here. Follow Kate on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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