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Report: Missouri State rescinds offer to former UND running back Otis Weah amid sexual assault investigation

Springfield newspaper reports former Spuds, UND running back suspended from UND campus for five years after Title IX investigation

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North Dakota State's Costner Ching, left, and Logan McCormick tackle North Dakota’s Otis Weah during their football game Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Grand Forks. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State has rescinded its offer to former Moorhead High School and University of North Dakota running back Otis Weah after learning of a sexual assault investigation against him.

The Springfield News-Leader reported Thursday that Weah was investigated for sexual assault at UND and banned from the university for five years after a Title IX investigation. The newspaper cited multiple unnamed sources.

Weah was a standout high school player for the Spuds before playing three seasons at UND, where he became an All-American in the COVID-delayed 2021 spring season. His time at UND included missing a season because of academic ineligibility and missing two games last fall, one an apparent suspension and another when Fighting Hawks head coach Bubba Schweigert said Weah was sick.

Weah entered the transfer portal after the 2021 fall season and announced last month he was transferring to Missouri State , like UND, a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Weah did not immediately return a message from The Forum seeking comment.

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UND spokesman David Dodds emailed the following statement when asked several questions by The Forum about Weah and the investigation:

"I can confirm that Otis Weah is no longer enrolled at the University of North Dakota. Mr. Weah was enrolled at UND from the summer session of 2018 until the fall semester of 2021 (6/25/18 to 12/17/21). We wish Mr. Weah well in whatever his future pursuits may bring. Broadly speaking, to conform with state and federal privacy rules, UND does not disclose information about a current or former student — apart from basic 'directory information' — without written consent of the student. Directory information is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as student information that generally would not be considered an invasion of privacy if disclosed. At this time, UND has no other information to provide about Mr. Weah."

The Grand Forks Herald reported it obtained at least one police report from Grand Forks that names Weah in an alleged assault . A police document from March 2020 outlines an accusation that Weah sexually assaulted a woman at a party in January of that year. Weah passed a polygraph test and no charges were filed, the Herald reported.

The News-Leader reported sources said Missouri State was unaware of the investigation when it recruited Weah.

The newspaper reported "family members of a former North Dakota student who accused Weah of sexually assaulting her reached out to the News-Leader following its initial reporting of Weah's announcement that he was transferring to Missouri State. The family members said no police reports were filed in the case because the accuser was fearful that doing so would result in her name being made publicly available. She instead reported the incident through UND's Title IX office."

It is the News-Leader's policy not to name victims of sexual assault or their family members if doing so would identify the victim, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper reported that the alleged victim's family provided a Title IX office determination letter to the News-Leader that showed Weah was suspended from attending North Dakota for five years starting Jan. 2022 and ending in Jan. 2027. The letter followed an investigation into a formal complaint against Weah alleging sexual assault in violations of UND's Sexual Misconduct Policy and Code of Student Life.

The News-Leader said the letter does not describe in detail the allegations against Weah.

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Weah burst onto the national Football Championship Subdivision scene in the spring 2021 season when led the MVFC in rushing yards (730 in a seven-game season), yards per carry (7.16), rushing touchdowns (9) and yards per game (104.3). Each of those numbers ranked in the top-10 nationally.

Weah scored a touchdown in every game he played in the spring.

He earned All-America honors by six different publications at the end of the season and finished fifth in the Walter Payton Award voting for the nation's top offensive player. He was runner-up for the MVFC's offensive player of the year.

Weah led UND with 818 rushing yards on 159 carries last fall, but he missed two games and UND finished 5-6 to miss the playoffs.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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