School administrators wish LSU Tigers running back Derrius Guice never existed. Now, it’s almost as though he didn’t. While they thus far have expressed no desire to hand back any of their 26 victories in 37 games while Guice was there, LSU officials have wiped the former star’s name from their record books and declared him persona non grata.
That’s a small step toward addressing a public relations problem. It almost certainly is no consolation to the women making accusations against Guice.
Serious accusations against Derrius Guice
Derrius Guice arrived at the Washington Football Team training camp last summer poised to make an impact following two surgeries in two years. Washington had veteran Adrian Peterson and third-round rookie Antonio Gibson, but a healthy Guice, a 2018 draft pick, had shown promise in his five games in 2019.
That plan fell apart on Aug. 8, 2020, when Washington waived the LSU Tigers great after domestic violence charges against him. The New York Post reported that Guice turned himself in to police a day earlier and faced one count of felony strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and destruction of property. Once reporters started digging, they found a reckless driving incident in June.
That was merely the beginning.
USA Today reported the following week that two former LSU students said Derrius Guice raped them after his freshman season as a backup to Leonard Fournette. The women’s allegations were reported to LSU Tigers athletic staff and a nurse but that the school did not investigate. A third woman subsequently alleged that Guice had taken a partially nude photo of her and shared it.
Guice’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, denied the reports.
“Such speculation and innuendo should not be the basis for Derrius to be required to make any comment at all,” Greenspun said. “But he wants to be absolutely clear. The allegations in this story are just that and have no basis in fact.”
LSU has been investigating and doing some soul-searching
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Federal laws and LSU policies required school officials to report the allegations against Derrius Guice to its Title IX office and to campus police if the incidents occurred on LSU property. Instead, nothing happened.
With pressure mounting from media coverage of the allegations against Guice, LSU recruited the Husch Blackwell law firm to investigate. It concluded with an unflattering 150-page report on March 5 detailing LSU’s mishandling of sexual misconduct cases.
Former LSU Tigers coach Les Miles felt the effects, losing his job at Kansas three days. The report concluded that LSU had deliberately asked its longtime law firm to investigate complaints against Miles in such a way that the findings would not become public. That firm cleared Miles of sexual improprieties with female student workers who had complained about him but did determine Miles had behaved inappropriately.
LSU revealed on April 23 that it is distancing itself from Taylor Porter, the school’s law firm for 80 years.
The LSU Tigers are erasing Derrius Guice from its past and future
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The LSU Tigers are banning former star running back Derrius Guice indefinitely from the athletics program, ESPN reported. The university also will remove his statistics from the school’s football record books.
Guice ranks fifth in LSU Tigers history with 3,074 rushing yards and is tied for seventh with 29 career rushing touchdowns. He also has two of LSU’s top-10 single-season rushing tallies – 1,387 yards as a sophomore in 2016 and then 1,251 as a junior. His 285-yard game against Texas A&M in 2016 is a school record.
As a practical matter, the LSU moves have no effect on Guice. The school’s sanctions against him are symbolic, a step toward restoring credibility with the campus and the community.
The real test, however, will come the next time the administration must deal with a controversy comparable to the Guice situation.