Miltenberg: “Former N.F.L. Player Keith Mumphery, After Settling Lawsuit, Plots a Comeback,” The New York Times


Former Texans Wide Receiver Keith Mumphrey Settles with MSU over Title IX Complaint

An adverse Title IX ruling by Michigan State University (MSU) cost a former NFL wide
receiver Keith Mumphrey at least two years of playing time and expulsion from an MSU
graduate program, until Title IX defense attorney Andrew Miltenberg was able to arrange a
settlement with the school and clear his client’s name and record.

What Happened?

According to an article in the New York Times, former Michigan State and Houston Texans
wide receiver Keith Mumphrey was blindsided in 2017 by the alleged victim’s appeal of a sexual
assault claim that had been decided in Mumphrey’s favor when he was an undergraduate student in 2015. Without even contacting Mumphrey – who was enrolled as an MSU part-time graduate student as well as being an NFL player – MSU reinvestigated the dismissed allegation and found Mumphrey guilty of relationship bias. The consequences were devastating.

When the finding was made, Mumphrey was dropped immediately by the Texans and effectively blackballed by other NFL teams. He was also expelled from the graduate program leaving him with no job and no higher education opportunity.

Mumphrey filed a Title IX suit against MSU to clear his record. This past month, MSU settled
the Title IX case admitting it was wrong, giving Mumphrey an undisclosed amount of cash and
clearing his record and his name. While it remains to be seen whether he will be able to resume his promising NFL career, he will never get back the two years it took for MSU to admit its wrongdoing.

Where MSU Made a Misstep

MSU’s initial finding was that contrary to her testimony, the woman was not drunk (as shown
from surveillance videos) and Mumphrey’s testimony that they never had sex was found to be
plausible based on a DNA swab and exculpatory text messages that Mumphrey put into
evidence. The accuser refused to talk to investigators at that time and the disciplinary panel
cleared Mumphrey completely.

After his undergraduate graduation, however, the woman appealed the university’s findings
and MSU reopened the case. They sent Mumphrey a single email to an address he no longer used and without ever hearing from him, MSU found him responsible for relationship violence and sexual misconduct and banned him from the university.

This case shows how schools favor women over men in sexual misconduct cases. Had it been a
criminal law case in court, “double jeopardy” would have prevented an appeal.

But on campus, procedures are set by the university and both appeals and a lower standard of
proof (typically “preponderance of the evidence’ this being a 50.01% probability) are generally
permitted. Mumphrey was never called, and the appeal was taken and conducted without his
knowledge (and apparently without looking at the prior evidence). This was a clear violation of
Mumphrey’s due process.

Despite missing two years when he would have been in his prime, Mumphrey is anxious to
resume his NFL career and pursue graduate studies. The settlement sum paid by MSU is small
consequence to what he would have made and developed as an NFL player.

Our Firm

Renowned attorney Andrew Miltenberg represented Mumphrey and has successfully represented numerous clients accused of alleged sexual misconduct on campuses. To avoid a situation like Mumphrey’s, it is critical that you involve a Title IX defense attorney as early as possible, preferably when the allegations are first made. A specialized attorney can surgically guide you through the disciplinary proceedings, initiate actionable steps to negate an appeal if you are successful, or position the record for a Title IX case against the college if you are not.

We highly encourage you to reach out to ensure you do not lose the opportunity for employment or graduate school admission. Call us today at 212-736-4500 or contact us if you or your child are facing the prospect of a sexual misconduct allegations imposed by a college or university. We are here to immediately help you and there is absolutely no fee for a private consultation.