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Rape Accusations Bring Scrutiny To Appalachian State Football

The influence of Appalachian State's football program is under scrutiny. The Charlotte Observer reports there's been an "emotionally wrenching controversy" on campus through much of the school year. Three football players are suspended from school for eight semesters for sex offenses, according to the story. A non-athlete was also suspended. A university conduct board found them responsible for sex offenses and sexual misconduct. The DA is considering charges, the Observer reports. There are two alleged victims. One has left school and could not be reached. Another one says the football players deserved stiffer punishment. From the Observer story: "If it was any other athlete, or a regular student, these guys would have been kicked out of the university immediately," said the first victim. "They really put football on a pedestal." She said two football players raped her off-campus one night in spring 2011, and two other players and another student sexually assaulted her. She said she did not report the incidents because she didn't want to be known around campus "as that girl who came forward and got them in trouble." In the fall of 2011, she learned that another female student had accused two of the same football players of rape. The first victim said she then told the university and the Watauga County Sheriff's Department about what happened to her. "I just don't understand how football can be more important than someone's whole life," she said." Another football player is on probation.