Title IX Office Opens Investigation into MU Basketball's Phillips

Jan 29, 2018

The University of Missouri’s Title IX office is investigating recently suspended basketball player Terrence Phillips, according to an email obtained by the Columbia Missourian on Sunday morning.

The email, sent to an alleged victim by the Title IX office — which investigates issues of sexual violence and discrimination on campus — was received Friday, the day of Phillips’ suspension.

“I am writing to inform you that based on additional information received by our Office,” the email reads, “the University is proceeding with an investigation against Terrence Phillips.”

  

Privacy laws allow the university to withhold details on open cases — which are independent of investigations by law enforcement — and it is unclear how many people are involved in the investigation.

The alleged victim, who spoke to the Missourian on a condition of anonymity, said she filed her complaint with the Title IX office more than a year ago but asked that the office not move forward with her case. The complaint involved allegations of physical abuse.

She also said she knows others who have filed complaints, too. When they came forward and the investigation was launched, she then learned her information would be included in the investigation. 

Later on Sunday, MU released a statement in response to the media reports on Phillips.

“While we cannot confirm or deny any actions from the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, we are aware of today's media reports regarding one of the university’s students.

“We want to reiterate that the safety of our students, faculty and staff are paramount. The university takes alleged violations of Title IX very seriously, and any allegations are investigated thoroughly and fairly. In some cases, interim measures are taken while an investigation is pending.”

Phillips, a junior from Orange County, California, was suspended indefinitely from the team Friday. According to a team statement, Phillips’ “future status with the program will be determined in coordination with campus and department leadership.”

According to the email, Phillips was notified of the investigation on Friday. News of his suspension came later that night.

The junior did not travel to Starkville, Mississippi, for the Tigers’ game against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Asked after the game about Phillips’ status, coach Cuonzo Martin said, “It’s up in the air.”