Another day, another Title IX disaster in college football.
According to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, a woman accusing Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway and former Florida quarterback Treon Harris of sexually assaulting her in December will skip her Title IX hearing after a former Gators athlete and current booster was chosen to hear the case.
The woman’s lawyer John Clune informed UF’s general counsel that the woman, her parents and her five witnesses will skip the hearing via a letter and provided a copy to ESPN:
“This has been a difficult decision but as I previously indicated to you, the fact that UF has hired a football booster to adjudicate a sexual assault allegation against one of the team’s own football players is a fundamentally skewed process in which [the complainant] refuses to participate,” Clune wrote, via OTL. “To be clear, [the complainant] remains very willing to participate in a fair and unbiased disciplinary process. Mr. Calloway’s behavior has had a great impact on her life and continuing as a student at UF is of great importance to her and her future.”
The man at the center of the case is Jake Schickel, a Jacksonville attorney and Florida law grad. Schickel is a former trustee of UF’s law school, a former track and field athlete, and a booster that contributes at least $6,800 annually to the Gators’ football and basketball programs.
“Quite frankly, short of finding a relative of Mr. Calloway (sic), I’m not sure how UF could have found someone with more conflicts [than] Mr. Schickel,” Clune wrote in the letter to UF provided to OTL.
The woman reported her assault to UF officials in January, and both Callaway and Harris were barred from campus during the spring semester. Harris has since transferred. Callaway has rejoined the team. “He didn’t look like he really missed a beat,” head coach Jim McElwain said yesterday. Callaway hauled in 35 grabs for 678 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman in 2015.
Association of Title IX Administrators executive director Brett Sokolow told OTL that hiring someone with such close ties to a university to adjudicate a Title IX case could open Florida up to a Title IX or a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education. Sokolow said the Schickel choice should have been disclosed to both sides; Clune says his firm was not informed by Florida and they found out on their own.
Callaway’s attorney Huntley Johnson has released a response, via the Tampa Bay Times.
We have read what the complainant’ s attorney has released to the press.
We consider his actions inappropriate and an attempt at intimidation.
Since the complainant’s attorney has chosen to go to the press in this matter, we assume that he will be releasing the hundreds of pages that made up the University of Florida’s investigation. We assume that he will be releasing the sworn affidavits in this case. We assume that he will be releasing the complainant’s text messages in the investigation. We assume that he will be releasing the complainant’s multitude of varying and conflicting stories.
We are not going to besmirch his client in the press. The totality of the investigation which is over one-thousand (1,000) pages will do that for us.
Our client has asked us not to release anything at this point. Because of the conduct of the complainant’s attorney, that may change in the future.