San Diego State remains silent amidst investigation into Matt Araiza

August 29, 2022
On Thursday, a civil lawsuit was filed against recently released Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza and his San Diego State teammates, former player Nowlin Ewaliko and redshirt freshman Zavier Leonard.
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SOURCE: KENT HORNER/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: KENT HORNER/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: On Thursday, a civil lawsuit was filed against recently released Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza and his San Diego State teammates, former player Nowlin Ewaliko and redshirt freshman Zavier Leonard. All three athletes are accused of rape, gender violence and false imprisonment of a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus party last October. Absolutely horrifying.

The institutional inaction: While the San Diego Police Department’s (SDPD) criminal investigation began quickly and is now in the hands of the district attorney to assess charges, the university was notably silent. It took a June LA Times investigation to force school officials into finally launching an internal Title IX inquiry and alerting the campus community.

  • Campus officials claim they were asked to not “interfere” or “jeopardize” the SDPD investigation, but legal experts report that while a temporary delay is normal, waiting almost an entire academic year to take action is “troubling” and “irresponsible.”
  • Now, because Title IX is specific to educational institutions, Araiza and Ewaliko — who are no longer San Diego State students — don’t have to comply with the investigation.

The bigger issue: In spite of San Diego State’s silence, a majority of students and athletes heard about the alleged rape and questioned if the lack of response was because the football team was winning.

  • And they could be correct: The power of male athletes and the dollars they bring to institutions have a way of shielding them from consequences in college and pro sports alike. When will it end?
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