CHARLOTTESVILLE — After defeating the third-ranked University of Virginia basketball team Saturday night, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski briefly addressed allegations of sexual assault against his program, claims levied by one of the women who has also accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.
Meredith Watson has alleged she was sexually assaulted by a Duke basketball player sometime from 1998 to 2000, at least a year before she claims Fairfax assaulted her while they were both students at the Durham, N.C., school. Duke is now investigating her claim against the nationally ranked basketball program.
Krzyzewski, the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history who has been the head basketball coach at Duke since 1980, said he has no knowledge of a sexual assault claim during that time.
“I didn’t find out about it until late last night, and I have no knowledge about it,” Krzyzewski said after his team’s 81-71 win over U.Va. “Something like that is serious. Our school looks at it that way. And we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that we answer whatever questions are posed to us.”
After Krzyzewski’s post-game press conference, Duke released a statement from athletic director Kevin White.
“Duke first learned of the allegations involving a student-athlete [Saturday] night when they were reported by the media,” White’s statement said. “Coach Krzyzewski confirms that he had no knowledge of the alleged conduct from 1999. The university is looking into the matter and will have no further comment at this time.”
Watson is the second woman to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault, leading to mounting pressure on the lieutenant governor to resign. Fairfax acknowledges sexual interactions with both women, but says they were consensual.
“I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else,” Fairfax said in a statement. “I knew Ms. Watson in college both before and after the encounter, and she never said to me that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort.”
Watson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, made the Duke allegations in a statement released Friday.
“Ms. Watson was raped by a basketball player during her sophomore year at Duke. She went to the dean, who provided no help and discouraged her from pursuing the claim further,” the statement read.