A former University of Southern California football player had his expulsion reversed by a California appeals court, after he was kicked out of school in 2017 due to a Title IX domestic abuse allegation, Reason reported.
Matt Boermeester was a kicker for USC until 2017. In January of that year, two students saw Boermeester put his hands around his girlfriend’s neck and push her against a wall and reported the incident.
Boermeester said they were just “horsing around.” His girlfriend, Zoe Katz, told USC investigators that she has “never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matthew Boemeester; not on January 21, 2017, and not ever.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Katz had initially confirmed the allegations before denying any abuse later on, but said her previous statements had been “misrepresented, misquoted, and taken out of context.” Investigators reportedly disregarded her denials and categorized her as a “battered woman” who was scared to speak against her abuser.
The California Court of Appeals ruled that USC’s discipline was unfair and “denied Boermeester a meaningful opportunity to cross-examine critical witnesses at an in-person hearing.” The case will be remanded to a superior court to “afford Boermeester the opportunity to directly or indirectly cross-examine witnesses at an in-person hearing.”
Boermeester said he was grateful for the win, but it doesn’t make up for what he lost when he was expelled just months after kicking the winning field goal for USC in the 2017 Rose Bowl.
“After having three years of my life derailed, I’m gratified that the California Court of Appeals finally reversed my expulsion based on USC’s wrongful, male-biased, witch hunt brought against me,” Boermeester said, according to Reason. “Make no mistake, USC stripped away my educational opportunities and hopes and dreams of playing in the NFL, and this ‘win’ does not erase that.”
Boermeester’s case has been cited by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in her efforts to reform the process by which campus sexual assaults are adjudicated.