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Former Nebraska Basketball Player Sues School Over Sexual Relationship With Coach

The Nebraska Cornhuskers logo on their uniform during the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 14, 2021 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

In a civil lawsuit filed on Sunday in United States district court, former University of Nebraska basketball player Ashley Scoggin has accused former Cornhuskers associate head coach Chuck Love of sexual misconduct, and of using his position to groom her into a sexual relationship. The lawsuit also names current Nebraska head coach Amy Williams, athletic director Trev Alberts, and the school's board of regents as defendants. In a statement released on Monday, Nebraska acknowledged the lawsuit and denied its claims: "While the University does not comment on the specifics of pending litigation, it does not agree with the allegations contained in the complaint and intends to vigorously defend this matter.”

According to the lawsuit, the alleged misconduct began in the summer of 2021, when Scoggin started an internship position in the athletic department. She alleges that Love used the internship to get close to her, inviting her to work at a table in his office and discussing her personal life, including questions about her "long-distance romantic relationship," and about her alcohol preferences.

The lawsuit alleges that Love began to message Scoggin on Snapchat and that he would invite her out for drinks with himself and Williams's husband, who the lawsuit alleges is a close friend of Love's. While the lawsuit states that Scoggin never met the pair for drinks, she did meet up late at night with Love in a Costco parking lot on two occasions. While Scoggin alleges that nothing physical happened the first time, the second time she accepted the invitation, she alleges that Love kissed her, in an interaction that the lawsuit states left her "feeling confused and trapped":

When [Scoggin] eventually did accept one of Love’s SnapChat invitations, they met in the parking lot of a Costco, after midnight. Love told [Scoggin] he had just left the bars. They sat in the car and talked. Love chided [Scoggin] about not bringing alcohol and asking her, “if I leave for a different school, will you come with me?”

A few days later, Love invited [Scoggin] to meet him and Williams’ husband for drinks; she declined. Love then asked [Scoggin] to meet just him. They again met very late at night at the Costo parking lot. This time, [Scoggin] brought alcohol as Love had suggested. Love kissed [Scoggin] and asked her, “have you ever done anything with a coach before?"

Following that second Costco meeting, the lawsuit alleges that the relationship turned sexual, and that Love "expected [Scoggin] to be available and willing" whenever he wanted to have sex. This included sex in team facilities and in Love's hotel rooms on road trips, according to the lawsuit.

On Feb. 17, 2022, the lawsuit alleges, the situation came to a head on a road trip to Penn State. According to the suit, players on the Nebraska team had suspicions of an inappropriate relationship between Scoggin and Love, and they conducted a "ruse" to confirm those suspicions:

On the night before the game, members of the team and practice players created a ruse to successfully confirm and record on video Scoggin’s presence in Love’s hotel room. This ruse included a practice player falsely representing himself as Love to a desk clerk in order to obtain Love’s room key; it ended in two team members confronting [Scoggin] in Love’s room. They reported their findings and showed their video recording to Williams. Love instructed [Scoggin] to deny anything improper, and he told her that he would talk to Williams.

The day after the Feb. 17 incident, the lawsuit alleges that Williams called a team meeting in which players could "interrogate" both Scoggin and Love about the situation. Scoggin says that she felt she could not admit anything with Love in the same room, and instead lied and denied any sexual relationship. Williams suspended Scoggin from the team and suspended Love, with pay. Also following the meeting, the lawsuit alleges that Love contacted Scoggin and "urged her to claim she was mentally ill."

Upon returning to Lincoln following the Penn State trip, the lawsuit alleges that Scoggin met with a member of the athletic department, but that she was not informed of her Title IX rights in this situation. Instead, the day after that meeting, Williams confirmed to Scoggin that she had been removed from the team, giving the reasoning that Scoggin was a "liar."

Scoggin and her parents then had a meeting with Alberts, Williams, and two other Department of Athletics members, in which Alberts backed up Williams in her assertion that Scoggin was removed for "dishonesty." The lawsuit claims that Alberts never informed Ashley that "if the Associate Head Coach had pursued a sexual relationship with her, then that was an abuse of power and ethics." When Scoggin's parents pressed Williams for an answer of why their daughter was removed from the team, Williams once again claimed that it was because she "lied."

The lawsuit alleges that the university did not pursue an investigation into the matter until Scoggin filed a Title IX complaint on March 11, 2022. In the meantime, Love was kept on the university payroll until May 13, 2022, when he resigned. On that same day, Scoggin was informed that her pending Title IX complaint was dismissed, and that the investigation was to be left unfinished.

As a result of her removal from the team, Scoggin was forced to leave student housing that she shared with a teammate, and began the process of transferring to another program. (This was not a smooth process, as the lawsuit alleges that Scoggin was locked out of her game film as she attempted to send it to other programs; the university eventually fixed this issue.) She would later transfer to UNLV.

The lawsuit alleges that there was a top-to-bottom failure at Nebraska to protect Scoggin from sexual exploitation by Love, and seeks damages for "physical and mental pain and suffering," as well as for the violation of her rights "under the federal and state Constitutions."

The full lawsuit can be found below:

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