N.C. State coach Dave Doeren dismissed the relevance of five Wolfpack football players being involved in a sexual assault investigation after a brief media availability on Wednesday.
“The game’s in 10 days, by the way, those were five guys that aren’t playing,” Doeren said as he walked away from the media outside the N.C. State practice facility.
Doeren answered three questions tangentially related to the disciplinary action of five freshmen players, which had been announced by the school on Tuesday.
Two players – receiver Antoine Thompson and defensive end Kevince Brown – were dismissed from the team for their role in an on-campus party on July 21 that police say involved underage drinking and marijuana.
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After the party, two female N.C. State students reported to campus police they were allegedly raped and a third a victim alleged sexual battery.
No charges have been filed in the investigation, which university police said Tuesday was still ongoing, but Doeren has already punished the five freshmen involved.
Running back Erin Collins, defensive end Xavier Lyas and linebacker Isaiah Moore were also identified by the police to have been at the party. Those three players have been suspended from competition but remain on the team.
According to information released by N.C. State, the five players violated the school’s student-athlete code of conduct. The university police report indicated alcohol and marijuana were used by the students at the party. University police chief Jack Moorman also said at least one of the football players hosted the party, of about a dozen people, at his on-campus apartment at Wolf Village.
Moorman held a news conference on Tuesday while Doeren and athletic director Debbie Yow released prepared statements. Doeren was made available to the media on Wednesday after the team’s morning practice.
Annabelle Myers, an assistant athletic director, told the media before Doeren’s availability that the coach would not take any questions about the five players involved in the investigation.
In his five-minute session, Doeren did take three questions related to the disciplinary process and its effect on the team, which will open the season on Sept. 2 against South Carolina.
Doeren was asked how he addressed the issue with the team.
“Like I said in my statement, I’m going to be fair and firm,” Doeren said. “You never like being in a decision-making mode like that, that’s not what you do, but you do everything you can ahead of time to prevent those things from happening. I feel like we’ve done that with our leadership program.
“Anytime somebody makes a mistake, you sit down, you work through it with all the people involved and you make the best choice for the program and the university.
“And I’m not somebody that hides things from my players. So I’m going to tell them, and our family business is our family business.”
Doeren said he moved “as fast I could” through the decision. There is a gap in the timeline, though, between when the players were disciplined and when the school released the information.
According to the university police report, the athletic department was informed of the players involved in the party on Aug. 8. The players were subsequently punished over the course of the next two days, according to N.C. State’s release.
That information wasn’t made public for another 11 days.
“Well, it wasn’t said to you (the media),” Doeren said. “That’s because the university and investigative people told us when we were allowed to talk.”
Myers then asked the media if there were any more questions about football and the availability ended. As Doeren started to walk away, he made the comment about the relevance of the punishment pertaining to the start of the season.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio