SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego State University says an internal investigation found no wrongdoing by former punter Matt Araiza in an alleged gang rape at an off-campus party in October 2021.
“There are no findings against Matt Araiza,” the school said in a statement to Yahoo Sports on Thursday evening. The school also said none of the former students named in a civil suit are the subject of a current investigation, although it reserved the right to “reinstate” an investigation if there are new developments.
The San Diego District Attorney decided late last year to not press criminal charges against Araiza, who was released by the Buffalo Bills in August, just days after a woman filed a lawsuit against Araiza and two other former SDSU players. She alleged in the suit that Araiza, then 21, had sex with her in a side yard at an off-campus house before bringing her into a bedroom where a group of men took turns raping her.
The woman, who was 17 at the time, reported the alleged rape the following day to the San Diego Police Department, which investigated the allegations for nine months before turning over its investigation to prosecutors on Aug. 5.
Earlier this month, several media outlets obtained an audio recording of a meeting on Dec. 17 between prosecutors and the woman in which deputy district attorney Trisha Amador said she concluded, based on a witness statement, that Araiza “wasn’t even at the party anymore” when the alleged gang rape could have occurred and wasn't visible in videos that were recovered. The witness testimony was included in evidence that prompted the DA to not press criminal charges against Araiza.
Araiza has maintained his innocence.
After the lawsuit was filed, SDSU defended its decision to obey the police department’s request to delay a campus-led inquiry until authorities finished their criminal investigation.
Araiza was nicknamed the “Punt God” and honored as a consensus All-American in 2021 for his booming kicks that helped SDSU to a school-best 12-2 season in his senior year. He was selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft.
The civil case against Araiza remains active.