The state Supreme Court Thursday granted review in the case of a former USC kicker expelled after being accused of domestic violence against his girlfriend.
The high court’s move follows a ruling in May by the 2nd District Court of Appeal that overturned a Superior Court decision upholding USC’s expulsion of Matt Boermeester, who kicked the winning field goal in the 2017 Rose Bowl.
In a 2-1 decision, a California 2nd District Court of Appeal panel ruled Boermeester was denied the right to a hearing at which he could cross-examine witnesses when the university sought to expel him over an alleged physical altercation between him and his girlfriend.
Justice John Shepard Wiley Jr. dissented, writing, “The university was right to discipline this man. Substantial evidence shows he committed domestic violence. All procedures were fair. Overturning this discipline is unwarranted.”
During a non-jury trial of the case that led to Boormeester’s appeal, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue said she did not find evidence the kicker was denied due process or was a victim of a biased investigation.
A Title IX probe led to Boermeester’s expulsion from the university and its football team in 2017. Boermeester was accused of pushing his girlfriend, Zoe Katz, then the captain of USC’s women’s tennis team, against a wall late one night in January 2017.
Boermeester’s lawyer, Mark Hathaway, previously said Katz repeatedly denied making the statements attributed to her and that she and his client walked away from the incident holding hands.
Boermeester was two classes shy of graduation when he was expelled.
The case is the first for “intimate partner violence” to reach the high court, according to attorneys for USC, which sought review of the case.
The USC lawyers said the appellate court decision was the most recent in a string of decisions which have “incrementally imposed additional, onerous requirements in university disciplinary proceedings regarding sexual misconduct and gender-based violence that are not required in any other type of school disciplinary proceedings.”
The state Supreme Court also “de-published” the Court of Appeal’s opinion, preventing it from being cited in court as established law.
Boermeester kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired as USC completed the greatest comeback in Rose Bowl history, overcoming a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Penn State, 52-49, on Jan. 2, 2017.