Lack of Charges Kept Him on the Court

Editor’s Note: It is important to stress that Callaway was never charged with rape, sexual assault or any crime related to this case in a court of law, as police investigators decided there was not enough evidence. It should also be made clear that at the school hearings, Callaway was found responsible only for ‘sexual misconduct,’ a vague umbrella term that includes everything from flashing to sexual assault (details of exactly what type of sexual misconduct were not available), and that UT’s system, while having far-reaching powers over consequences in the university community, does not function as a criminal courtroom

Athletic Director Larry Marfise admits that the case put him between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he had the legal liability of suspending or terminating a young man who had no criminal charges filed against him. On the other side, he had to deal with the image and morale of one of his athletic teams.

‘We are bound by state law to follow state law, which we do,’ he said. ‘School policy is a little more lenient. In a school situation, your case is discussed by your peers. We’re responsible to the state of Florida, city of Tampa, Hillsborough County, to follow their rules. If we don’t there are legal liabilities. In the case of Rashad, they said there wasn’t evidence.’

Athletic department policy is to immediately suspend all players charged with a felony.

Had Callaway been criminally charged in this case, his eligibility would have been terminated. While the case was investigated, Marfise suspended Callaway until it was resolved. He missed a week of practice, Marfise said.

Once the state attorney declined to prosecute, Marfise had to investigate on his own.

‘I spoke specifically with the individuals involved,’ he said. ‘We researched it well. We certainly don’t expect that kind of conduct, and in my mind, they [the state] were adamant that there wasn’t evidence of this crime being committed. Obviously if there was, they would have charged him.’

Marfise consulted with basketball coach Richard Schmidt and allowed Callaway to play. Marfise admitted that there were a number of others inside the athletic department who watched the case closely, waiting to see if Callaway would be removed from the program.

The hearing

Marfise said the UT conduct process left the athletic department in the dark, citing Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act guidelines. They were unable to share information related to the case with anyone.

When Callaway was found responsible, no one told Marfise.

‘Nobody sent us an official statement that this was the outcome of the hearing,’ Marfise said. ‘We obviously heard what had taken place. That’s a decision they’re making on superficial evidence, in our opinion. If the courts and legal authorities aren’t going to charge somebody, we’re put in a position where we can’t override that. The young man has rights as well.’

The ‘he said, she said’ aspect of the story played heavily into Marfise’s decision.

‘He had one story, the lady has the other,’ he said. ‘There wasn’t enough evidence for the state attorney to continue the charges.’

Keeping him around

Left with the decision to kick Callaway out or keep him in the program, Marfise chose the latter.

A product of the crime-ridden south side of Chicago, Marfise knew what could happen to Callaway if he were left out on his own.

‘We thought it would be better for us to keep him on the team,’ he said. ‘First of all, he has no car, and we thought that if we barred him from practicing, which we would do in a lot of situations, after talking in length with him and his family, we thought it would be better if we could keep him here, work with him, instead of just throwing him out on the street and saying, ‘You’re gone.”

When an athlete gets in trouble, one of the first people told is the coach and the head of the program.

‘As an athletic director, you’re like a father,’ Marfise said. ‘I wake up every Friday, Saturday and Sunday fearing that I’ll get a call from security or the police.’


All new athletes are forced to attend conduct training, according to a number of people within the athletic department.

Last fall, for example, a representative from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms presented a speech on substance abuse
and other illegal activities. Marfise, however, would prefer that a former athlete come and speak.

‘We prefer to have a peer experience,’ he said. ‘It’s well documented and proven that that works better. We make kids go. We bring 200-plus athletes. Last year we had a guy from the ATF come and I’m looking around the room and two-thirds of them are day-dreaming, or sleeping.’

The athletic director didn’t think the training sessions were too effective, however.

‘Everybody else on this campus [is] provided with training,’ he said. ‘I think what does work is the fact that we have a coach, two coaches or me, essentially with a hammer over their head. We’re watching them. We get information a lot quicker than someone in the residence halls. We know there are going to be parties. People will tell us things like that. The hammer that we have is we can threaten them with removal from the team, scholarship dollars, we make them aware of the fact that this is a privilege, not a God-given right.’

Marfise also suggested that athletes may be more prone to violence.

‘Are athletes more aggressive? Usually,’ he said. ‘They wouldn’t be in the sport if they weren’t more aggressive.’

No athlete privilege

Marfise made it clear that this case had nothing to do with a special privilege given to athletes in the conduct system.

‘At the University of Tampa, we have no missed-class-time policy, no early registration, no housing priorities,’ he said. ‘There are no athlete privileges. We’re not going to tolerate that kind of behavior.’

Regarding this case in particular, Marfise pointed to the fact that it was too early in the year to determine what kind of player Callaway was.

‘If he was found guilty, there are no special privileges,’ he said. ‘That had no effect. I didn’t care if the kid was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.’

For The Minaret’s other stories, follow the guide below:

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ What Is Sexual Assault?

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Minaret Special Investigation

o‘ ‘ ‘ Both Sides of the Story

o‘ ‘ ‘ The State declines to prosecute, and UT J-Board takes up the case

o‘ ‘ ‘ Lack of Charges Kept Him on the Court

o‘ ‘ ‘ Problems Plagued Conduct Process from the Start

o‘ ‘ ‘ A Challenge to our Readers

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ UT’s Definition

o‘ ‘ ‘ Related Student Handbook Policies

o‘ ‘ ‘ Definition of Terms

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Alcohol ‘amp; Sexual Assault

o‘ ‘ ‘ Speaker Emphasizes Effect of Alcohol on Sexual Assault

o‘ ‘ ‘ Authorities say use of date-rape drugs on the rise

o‘ ‘ ‘ Drunken Hook-Ups Can Blur Consent

o‘ ‘ ‘ Women and Drinkers Most Likely to be Victims

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Men’s Role

o‘ ‘ ‘ College Men Need a New Dialogue on Rape

o‘ ‘ ‘ Men Must Fight Date Rape, Too

o‘ ‘ ‘ The Myths of Rape

‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Help for Victims

o‘ ‘ ‘ Ruling Could Open Door to Victims Suing Schools

o‘ ‘ ‘ UT Student Re-examines Personal Experience

o‘ ‘ ‘ Crisis Center Volunteers Help Victims Cope with Assault

o‘ ‘ ‘ What the Research Shows…

o‘ ‘ ‘ Campus Advocate Speaks on Experiences

o‘ ‘ ‘ Resources for Rape Victims

o‘ ‘ ‘ UT’s On-Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Program Gaining Visibility

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