In a statement released Friday evening by the program, Indiana sophomore running back Morgan Ellison has been dismissed from the Indiana football program and suspended from the university for two and a half years.
Indiana players last week before Iowa. (Mark Timko/IU)
“Effective today, October 19, 2018, sophomore Morgan Ellison has been suspended for two and one half years from Indiana University,” the statement said. “Dismissing him from all university-related activities and resulting in his permanent dismissal from the football team.
In a decision dated October 3rd, an Indiana University panel determined that Ellison had sexually assaulted a fellow IU student ‘while she slept and then used force to continue the assault when she woke up,’ as reported by the Indianapolis Star. According to the Star, Ellison said the sexual activities were consensual and had previously been appealing the panel’s decision.
“In its findings, the University’s sexual misconduct hearing panel concluded that “the aggravating factor of (Ellison) engaging in sexual activity while Complainant was asleep, and (Ellison)’s use of force during the incident” led to the determination that Ellison should be suspended from Indiana University for 2 1/2 years, according to records obtained by IndyStar. The Indianapolis Star also spoke to the alleged victim and reported her accounts.
Ellison was indefinitely suspended prior to Indiana’s season opener against Florida International. The program has never released the specific reason for Ellison’s suspension. When asked at his weekly press conferences, Tom Allen said he regularly met with Ellison and even allowed the sophomore running back to practice starting September 13th. He stopped participating in practice on October 3rd, the day of the panel’s decision.
At this time, Ellison has not been criminally charged for the sexual assault allegations against him. The case against him had been reported to Indiana University, and was strictly a campus investigation.
“We followed all the applicable University rules and policies that our department has, that the University has, followed them all, everything I was told do,” Allen said after Indiana’s loss to Iowa.
From a football standpoint, the loss of Ellison does not necessarily damage Indiana’s depth at running back. The Hoosiers have a pair of true freshmen in Stevie Scott and Ronnie Walker playing this season. Seniors Ricky Brookins and Mike Majette will graduate. 4-star commit and Avon running back Sampson James chose Indiana over Ohio State last week. He will be a true freshman in 2019. Cole Gest (season-ending injury), Craig Nelson, and walk-on Kristian Pechac will all return, among others at the position.
At the same time, Ellison’s departure, again from a football standpoint, is disappointing after a promising freshman season. He emerged as Indiana’s starter and led the team with 704 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Ellison ran for a season-high 185 yards in the win against Georgia Southern, and was thought to be the starter this season before his suspension. He is a physical, reliable running back that proved his own in a conference full of elite running backs. As far as Ellison’s future, he is able to seek transfer possibilities and could even return to Indiana University as a student in two and a half years.
This is Tom Allen’s first dismissal of his head coaching career, and the first public case of IU football players in trouble off the field.
I am a senior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, studying in IU’s School of Global and International Studies. Prior to joining The Hoosier Network, I spent two seasons covering IU Athletics for the Indianapolis Star alongside Zach Osterman after becoming the Sports Editor of the Indiana Daily Student as a freshman. While I found myself studying Italian in Florence this past summer, I interned with The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2017 — my hometown paper. In case you want to talk cheesesteaks or the Philadelphia 76ers, you can find me on Twitter, @ByTeddyBailey.