NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma and football coach Lincoln Riley both offered statements Saturday after a student made abuse allegations public against running back Kennedy Brooks.
OU sophomore Mallory Jech, in a string of tweets posted Friday, identified herself as an alleged victim of mental and physical abuse by Brooks, who was cleared by OU’s Title IX office in an investigation nearly one month ago and has been since reinstated by the football team. He participated in Saturday’s first preseason practice.
About 20 minutes before the conclusion of that workout, OU released a statement containing a reminder that Title IX reports are confidential and independent of the athletic department. The statement did not include Brooks or Jech’s names.
In an apparent response to Jech’s dissatisfaction with the investigation — in one of her tweets she said OU is protecting Brooks because he is a football player — the school stated that “all individuals who file a Title IX complaint are provided counseling with confidential advocates, accommodations that include academic scheduling, and referrals to other agencies for additional recourse including, but not limited to, local police departments. Filing a Title IX report does not limit the ability of either party from pursuing action through the courts or the criminal justice system.
“Our responsibility under Title IX in a university setting is to ensure a safe learning environment free of harassment and discrimination for our students, to provide requested accommodations, to determine violations of policy, and where the evidence shows threats to safety, to take steps to stop and prevent its recurrence.”
No court records currently listed online contain Brooks’ name in the state of Oklahoma and it’s believed that Jech has not filed a police report.
Brooks was held out of football activities while Title IX investigated the allegations. He was reinstated July 10 after the office completed its findings.
Riley referred to OU’s statement when asked about the running back's situation Saturday and said he’s had no involvement with the Title IX process.
"We’ve got to have respect for that process and how it goes on. I would say that it’s a topic that we’re extremely sensitive to. We have round-the-year education on that,” Riley said. "It’s something that we take extremely serious. So serious in fact that when there is an inquiry or a process ongoing, we’re proactive enough to remove our guys from the team before the decision’s even been made. We take it as serious as we possibly can and we let the people whose job that is do their job"
Asked if he or the team had any conversations with Brooks after the Title IX investigation concluded, Riley indicated that that might be overstepping boundaries.
"We’re not an investigative body," he said. "It’s made extremely clear to us — our university does a great job of educating — that we’re not investigators. We let the investigators handle it, they tell us what the decision is, then we take it from there."