University reacts to alleged abuse by DWU men's basketball player

Sioux Falls, S.D. - It’s been almost a month since a Dakota Wesleyan men's basketball player was accused of abuse. 21-year-old Tyson Smiley is accused of pushing his ex-girlfriend to the ground and taking out his rage on the hood of her father's car. He faces charges of domestic abuse and intentional damage to property stemming from the September 9th incident. He was arrested on September 13th. The allegations are something university leaders said they are taking very seriously.

Photo courtesy of the Davison County Sheriff's Office

“It’s always a very serious situation,” DWU Executive Vice President Theresa Kriese said.

Court documents show on September 9th Smiley took out his anger at a woman he was previously romantically involved with, on the hood of her father's car. The victim who is also a student at DWU alleges Smiley pushed her to the ground after taking her phone and other belongings from her dorm room.

“The accused is entitled to the presumption of innocence. That’s very important,” Sioux Falls Attorney Joel Arends said.

Documents show Smiley admitted to taking out his rage on the car and taking the victim's phone, but denied pushing her to the floor. The university was made aware of the incident shortly after it happened.

“Both students have been allowed through the process to tell their side. Both the student who made the complaint and the student that’s part of the complaint, they have to be heard,” Kriese said.

Smiley is still on the DWU basketball team, but some might wonder why he's allowed to keep playing. The University of South Dakota suspended two athletes last year for sexual assault charges.

“We don’t know all of the university’s internal deliberations regarding this matter, but there certainly is a difference in the criminal justice system between a simple assault domestic abuse charge and the felony charge of rape,” Arends said.

One of Smiley's bond conditions is to have no contact with the victim.

“Both of these students know the situation obviously. They’re working to not contact each other and to stay apart. We do the best that we can in making sure that we put things in place to protect our students all the way around,” Kriese said.

Kriese said along with the police investigation they are conducting their own to see if any title nine policies were violated. Smiley faces those two class one misdemeanors. His initial court appearance is set for October 18th. Kriese said once the investigation concludes, Smiley's status on the team will be determined.