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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Oregon's Damyean Dotson (21) engages the crowd during the final seconds of a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Saint Louis Saturday, March 23, 2013, in San Jose, Calif. Oregon won the game, 74-57. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oregon’s Altman concedes he didn’t dig deep enough into player’s past sex assault allegation

Oregon head coach Dana Altman said at a news conference Friday that he was "very disappointed" in three players dismissed from the team Friday, and that it was in the program’s best interest to let them go.

"There’s four people whose lives have been greatly altered here," he said, saying that while he feels for the victim of an alleged sexual assault, he also cares deeply about his players.

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"Good people can make bad decisions," he said. "And obviously this was a very bad decision, but when you have a history with a young man, that history goes into account also."

Oregon announced earlier Friday that Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin were dismissed from the team after another student said she was sexually assaulted by the three players at a postgame party after beating No. 3 Arizona in March.

The Lane County district attorney’s office determined that there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.

Altman said he didn’t know immediately that it was a rape investigation — that it was just an "incident." Altman said police instructed him not to take any action, but that he and Oregon AD Rob Mullens decided on April 30 to suspend the trio a week after a police report revealed the nature of the allegations.

Asked why he suspended them, he said, "I’m assuming that you read the report, and I think that speaks for itself."

Austin also faced sexual assault allegations at Providence College, which prompted a suspension.

Altman said he spoke with Austin’s family and checked into his high school background prior to his transfer, but that he didn’t know specifics.

"My line of questioning probably didn’t go deep enough there, in retrospect."

Oregon has also lost seven seniors and two transfers from its 24-10 NCAA Tournament team last season.

Click here to learn more about the disturbing nature of the allegations in a blog post from Tribune reporter Kyle Goon.

— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper

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