Alumni and ex-teammates of former Yale University basketball star Jack Montague are paying his legal bills in his fight to undo a Title IX sexual misconduct complaint that he says got him “wrongfully and improperly” expelled from the college in 2016.
Montague’s 2016 expulsion, which he claims was a breach of contract and violation of his Title IX rights, came shortly after the former point guard and team captain carried the Bulldogs to their first NCAA March Madness tournament bid in 54 years.
Montague alleges one of Yale’s Title IX officers, amid pressure to restore Yale’s “tarnished image” on issues of sexual misconduct, misled and coerced the accuser into cooperating in the complaint, when it wasn’t the first or only time Montague and Jane Doe, as identified in court documents, had consensual sexual interactions or intercourse.
The suit alleges the Title IX officer brought the complaint against him despite being told the woman did not believe Montague heard her when she tried to end their October 2014 sexual encounter, and no criminal charges were ever sought. Montague was confused as to why he was ever investigated – given their interactions were consensual.
Yale’s attorneys have said the woman made it clear that she did not want to have intercourse and that the school and its officials acted appropriately. Yale’s university-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, created in 2011, has investigated 64 cases – though only a few have resulted in expulsion.
Montegue told attorneys in a March court deposition – recently made public as part of the university lawyers’ motion, as first reported by the Associated Press – that $25,000 to $30,000 had been raised from alumni to help pay legal bills. It is unclear what amounts or how many supported Montague, while his former teammates raised more than $5,000 through a crowdfunding page.
Montague is seeking unspecified monetary damages and permission to finish his last semester at the Ivy League school. The suit argues Yale’s decision to expel Montague undermined his ability to pursue academic and employment opportunities, especially because the university declined to release his transcripts unless he paid a $3,000 tuition debt.
Yale’s lawyers tried to make the deposition public to figure out how much money Montague’s parents paid a public relations firm to represent their son.
“The amount of money which [Montague] has paid to his public relations firm and which has been raised for his legal fees is certainly relevant, as those funds could have been used to pay the outstanding bill at Yale University and obtain his transcript, thereby enabling him to apply to other colleges and universities in a timely manner,” Yale attorney Patrick Noonan wrote in a motion.
But Montague says it would cost him more than paying his outstanding balance if Yale does not re-admit him. He wants to transfer to Vanderbilt, where the tuition is upward of $70,000.
“That’s something that my parents cannot afford,” he said in a deposition.
Yale Daily News reports that the trial is expected to start in February.
Both Yale and Montague’s spokespersons declined to comment.