Yale plays in its first NCAA tournament since 1962. But the Ivy League basketball team does so without its team captain.
The Yale Daily News now confirms what campus observers long suspected: that the school expelled Jack Montague for sexual misconduct. February’s punishment stems from an allegation of sexual assault brought in November. The student paper also noted that the school’s provost refused to hear an appeal, that the school requires the disciplinary matter to remain a secret hidden from public scrutiny, and that no local law enforcement agency pursues charges against the player.
“Those that were close to the situation are frustrated with our school, because we witnessed how the UWC [University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct] policies go against established law and strip an accused student of due process and any form of proper defense one might receive in a real court,” Montague’s classmate and friend Blake Thompson told the Daily News.
The six-foot senior last played against Cornell on February 6, when he scored 16 points. But Montague, who had averaged 9.7 points per game and three assists, mysteriously went missing from the last eight contests of the season.
During one of those games, against Harvard on national television, Montague’s teammates wore warmup jerseys sporting his nickname (“Gucci”) and number four with Yale spelled backwards on the front. In the last game of the season against Columbia, Montague’s teammates held up four fingers after the game as a gesture in solidarity with their expelled teammate. When posters went up on campus saying, “Yale Men’s Basketball, Stop Supporting Rapists,” members of the team admitted to ripping them down.
The Yale Women’s Center condemned the players’ support of their teammate. The group, after taking down an earlier response they say the media took out of context, announced in the bowdlerized statement that “the team’s actions appeared to be a dismissal of the very real threat of sexual violence. We believe that their actions, and some community members’ responses, reflect toxic attitudes that persist on our campus. We condemn the insensitivity of the protest even as we withhold judgment on individual team members. We also recognize that there are power dynamics at play in all student groups, athletics included, that leave some members with less agency than others.”
The basketball players offer a more straightforward explanation for their support of Montague.
“We’re not trying to offend anyone, it’s just coming from the heart,” backcourt mate Khaliq Ghani recently explained after flashing four fingers in the wake of hitting a three-pointer. “Jack is still the captain of our team.”