According to the Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno, Minnesota Golden Gopher center Reggie Lynch was arrested on Sunday afternoon by University Police on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct. Lynch is being detained in a Hennepin County jail while authorities determine whether to bring charges.
Law enforcement has until noon on Tuesday to determine whether he will be charged and according to Rayno they intended to use all (or nearly all) of the available time to make a decision. As reported by ESPN, the attorney's office ended up deferring a decision, allowing Lynch to be released while they continue to investigate the case.
For the University's part, they've suspended Lynch indefinitely until the investigation is complete. No one at the University has been made available for comment, including interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz and head coach Richard Pitino.
Lynch was a prominent in-state high school player at Edina High School before joining Illinois State. He would then go on to transfer to Minnesota before last season. Due to transfer rules he had to sit out last season, but it was anticipated that he would become a key part of the Gophers frontcourt heading forward. Not only that, but there was speculation he could be the starting center entering the 2016-17 season.
Of course this throws a wrench in those plans as Minnesota's tumultuous off season continues. The latest incident has nothing to do with outgoing or incoming transfers, but it's clearly a far worse issue to be dealing with as uncertainty regarding transfers are minor and insignificant in comparison. No, this latest incident is much more serious and goes far beyond basketball (in terms of importance and gravity).
Minnesota basketball's last three months leaves much to be desired. Both on and off the court the Gophers have struggled mightily this year. The team finished 8-23 overall (2-16 in the Big Ten) and that would have been bad enough before even considering the off the court issues that have plagued them as well. One thing's for sure, Minnesota can't fix the on court issues while they're also a mess off the court.
Since late February Minnesota has dismissed a player from its program for undisclosed team rule violations (Carlos Morris), suspended three players for a sexually explicit video posted on social media (Kevin Dorsey, Dupree McBrayer and Nate Mason) and now have had a player arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct (Lynch).
Certainly the investigation needs to conclude before making any judgments, but the allegations are serious and deserve the honest attention of professional investigators to determine whether evidence exists to suggest a crime has been committed.
Nobody at the University is talking, other than the official statement. But that's not unusual all things considered. At some point key university officials will have to make statements and/or face the press. Eventually Pitino may be forced to answer broader questions about his program's recent behavior. The University of Minnesota's Athletic Department, on the whole, has not had a great year with the Norwood Teague scandal, the basketball teams off-the-court transgressions and the sudden retirement of football coach Jerry Kill due to unfortunate health issues.
For a program looking to put behind the bad memories of last season, the off the court incidents aren't helping and they're worse than anything we've seen on the court as of late.