The Yale men’s basketball team got its first ever NCAA Tournament win with a victory over No.5 Baylor on Thursday, but they did so without their team captain. Senior Jack Montague hasn’t played since Feb. 6, having been expelled after the school determined that he was guilty of an alleged sexual assault.
Montague, 22, who has maintained his innocence, watched Thursday’s game from the stands of the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. His lawyer, Max Stern, has said the former student intends to sue the school because Yale’s decision to expel Montague was wrong and unfairly determined.
Montague is not the subject of a police investigation, and the New Haven Police Department hasn’t received a sexual assault complaint against the former basketball standout. Instead, a complaint was filed at Yale against Montague a year after the alleged incident, and a five-person panel decided his fate.
Most of what is known about the incident has come from Stern. In a statement to the Yale media outlet The Tab, Stern says the female accuser claims she never consented to sexual intercourse that occurred between her and Montague in October 2014. Montague says it was consensual, claiming that it was the fourth time his accuser spent the night in his bed, and the second occasion on which they had sexual intercourse.
Stern has argued that Montague is being made an example of, following other allegations of sexual assault at Yale.
“We cannot help but think it not coincidental that the decision by Yale officials to seek expulsion of the captain of its basketball team followed by little more than a month the report of the Association of American Universities (AAU) which was highly critical of the incidence of sexual assault on the Yale campus, and the Yale President’s promise, in response, to ‘redouble our efforts.’ From what appears, Jack has been pilloried as a 'whipping boy' for a campus problem that has galvanized national attention,” Stern said.
Montague didn’t comment on the situation when approached by ESPN at Thursday’s game. Last month, Yale players wore warm-up shirts with Montague’s No.4 and nickname in support of their former teammate, but they have since apologized and avoided talking about the controversy.
"We're focused on playing basketball,'' junior Brandon Sherrod said before Yale’s first-round game. “Obviously we know these questions will come up, and we'll answer them as candidly as we can, but we're here to play basketball and win a game. I think if we do that, maybe the pressure of answering these questions might go away.''
Now, the team goes on to face Duke on Saturday in the round of 32. Duke has its own history involving star athletes accused of sexual assault. The 2006 Duke lacrosse season was canceled after three players were indicted on rape charges, though the charges were eventually dropped.
Before getting expelled, Montague averaged 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Since the 6'1 guard was kicked off the team, Yale has gone 8-1, including Thursday’s win and the team’s first Ivy League Championship since 1962.
A native of Brentwood, Tennessee, Montague was a member in a high school fellowship that brings "youth closer to Jesus," according to yalebulldogs.com.