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Mizzou still buzzing about Dixon departure

Mizzou still buzzing about Dixon departure

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Michael Dixon's abrupt departure from the Missouri men's basketball team hasn't quieted the campus conversation about his exit.

The senior guard announced his intent to transfer on Nov. 29 after two sexual assault claims became public. Dixon had been benched all season by No. 12 Missouri (7-1) and coach Frank Haith for unspecified team rule violations. He was not charged in either case.

In an interview with The Associated Press, University of Missouri Board of Curators chairman David Bradley suggested the school may need to take a closer look at its student disciplinary process. Dixon reportedly appeared before a campus student conduct board whose members include students and professors.

``I don't think it would hurt to relook at the process we go through,'' Bradley said at a curators' meeting in St. Louis. ``I'm not saying the process is wrong, but there are a lot of people who had questions about it, and a lot of people who were upset about the Dixon situation.''

Absent from the meeting due to illness was Chancellor Brady Deaton, who had Dixon not decided to leave on his own would have been able to veto, uphold or revise the student conduct committee's confidential decision. But university President Tim Wolfe, who oversees the system's four campuses, defended the integrity of the disciplinary process.

``We have a process that involves the student conduct committee that has representatives from the various constituency groups and has been successful in looking into these situations and making decisions,'' Wolfe said Friday. ``That process was used effectively in this particular situation.''

Curator Wayne Goode, a former Missouri legislator who will succeed Bradley as the governing board's chairman, said the university had to balance the privacy of both Dixon and his accusers.

``We were advised by our (legal) counsel that we had to be careful with regard to those privacy issues, and I think we were,'' he said.

With no charges against him, Dixon received a lot of support amid the allegations. After he announced he would transfer, some students remained troubled by the backlash faced by women who allege sexual assault.

``Despite the incredible resources meant to educate on this issue, the sad truth is that there is still a culture of victim blaming that permeates MU and countless other college communities across the nation,'' student government president Xavier Billingsley wrote Wednesday in an open letter to the campus community titled ``For A Safer Mizzou.''

``Rape is rape - not only when a sexual advance is forcible, but any time one party says `no,''' Billinsgley continued. ``There have been no convictions borne out of the accusations discussed this past week, but to think that any student would want to shut out serious concerns about whether an awful crime was committed for the sake of athletics is incredibly disappointing. This shows that even though we have made great strides in dealing with sexual violence and violation, we still have a long way to go. ``

Dixon was suspended for two games in December 2010 for violating unspecified team rules under former Missouri coach Mike Anderson, who is now at Arkansas.

A 25-year-old Missouri graduate and former athletics department employee told the AP that Dixon forcibly had sex with her in January 2010 during his freshman year. The woman reported the alleged assault to campus police and was examined for signs of sexual assault at a hospital, but said she declined to press charges.

The campus police report was publicly leaked to reporters last week, about the same time a second allegation was being aired publicly. In that case, a current female student accused Dixon of sexual assault, disclosing the allegation in a Twitter exchange with a former Missouri player. She also filed a city police report in August, but prosecutors decided on Nov. 16 to not file charges.

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Alan Scher Zagier can be reached athttp://twitter.com/azagier

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Tom Wilson immediately moves back onto the top line for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota

Tom Wilson immediately moves back onto the top line for Tuesday’s game in Minnesota

After a neutral arbitrator reduced Tom Wilson’s suspension on Tuesday, head coach Todd Reirden is wasting no time getting him back into the lineup. Wilson will make his season debut against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday  (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Washington) and he will play on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

“That's where he's most comfortable,” Reirden said after the team’s morning skate Tuesday.

“They had some preseason time together and I thought it was the right move to do tonight. I liked some of the things that we saw from some of the adjustments we made last game, but I think this will allow Tom to have the most success after an extended period of time out of game action.”

With Wilson’s return the Caps will have their full offensive lineup for the first time this season. After reuniting Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the top line for Sunday’s game, Reirden has elected to change things again go with the same top nine that worked so effectively during the team’s playoff run last season, per Isabelle Khurshudyan.

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov – John Carlson
Michal Kempny – Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos – Madison Bowey

Pheonix Copley to start.

The addition of Wilson dramatically changes the team’s lineup and chemistry. Not only does it make the lineup deeper, he also obviously adds a major physical element.

“He's such a big part of our team, of the way we play, of the culture on and off the ice that we've been missing something,” Oshie said. “It's been 43 so it's great to have him back.”

While the Caps are getting their top-line winger back, the team is also entering the game well aware that it may take time for him to get up to game speed.

“For him, we have to have realistic expectations that he's going to have a little bit of a learning curve here in terms of getting back up to speed and getting back up to the pace of play which is something that's at an all-time high this year,” Reirden said.

With that in mind, do not be surprised to see the Caps shuffle their offensive lines throughout the night rather than lean on Wilson to play 18+ minutes in his first game back, especially if the Caps get into penalty trouble and Wilson plays on the penalty kill.

While Wilson did travel with the team in the event that his suspension would be reduced and he would be eligible to play, neither he nor the team received any advanced notice that he would be available.

“I wake up this morning and at 8:30 I get news I've got to get ready to play,” Wilson said.

“It was definitely a unique experience, one that you don't ever want to go through, a bit eye-opening. At the end of the day, there's a game today, I've got to focus on that and it's a big road trip so I've got to focus on this team getting back on track and do whatever I can to help out.”

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TJ Oshie celebrates Tom Wilson's return with incredible 'Free Willy 3' poster

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TJ Oshie celebrates Tom Wilson's return with incredible 'Free Willy 3' poster

After 16 games and an up and down start to 2018, the Washington Capitals can finally welcome their stud right winger Tom Wilson back to the lineup. 

On Tuesday, Wilson's 20-game suspension was reduced to 14 thanks to a neutral arbitrator. 

TJ Oshie apparently couldn't contain his excitement as he took to Twitter sharing a hilarious poster to celebrate. 

This wasn't the first time Wilson's fellow right winger posted something comical regarding Wilson's suspension. In fact, Tuesday's celebratory tweet completed the trilogy. 

Remember the initial Free Willy poster that kicked things off in October 2017? 

Or what about the sequel from last May? 

The Capitals travel to Minnesota for an 8 p.m. puck drop Tuesday night and although his playing status is unconfirmed, all signs point towards it being likely the 24-year-old will be in the lineup. 

 

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