"I still want to make a difference. Again, these are still accusations. Even if it came back and said they're innocent, I can't take those chances anymore."
I was also interested to learn if his credibility with Dr. Welch had been damaged. Welch showed his support for Downey.
"He had a record where none of this has happened and graduated his players, his record has been clean," Welch said. "This is certainly an exception to anything that has happened before. I hope folks look at the body of work."
Downey will enter his fourth season with the Golden Eagles with a nine-player roster. Lipkins, Dreher and Washington already have been removed from the school's athletic website, leaving UC without three players who accounted for 41.6 percent of the team's offense last season.
The 5-foot-11 Lipkins, a first-team All-West Virginia Conference player last season, led the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game. Dreher was third at 11.1 and Washington was fifth at 8.9. The trio combined for 47 starts.
Lipkins and Washington, who had one year of eligibility remaining, are the surprising stories.
Lipkins, the cousin of former UC standout Marco Richardson, had no red flags since graduating from Canton McKinley in 2009 or when playing for Northland Community College in Minnesota.
He showed no signs of poor judgment during a 2011-12 school year when he was ineligible and at home while a part-time student taking online classes.
Washington, a 6-5 transfer from South Carolina Salkehatchie and former South Florence (S.C.) High School standout also entered the program with clean hands.
There is no way to measure how disappointing this story is, first of all, to the victims.
"I'm disappointed, down, ashamed and I feel for the victims," Downey said. "This shouldn't happen under any circumstances."
This situation will label Downey as a coach who brings in bad kids, which isn't fair. In nine years as a head coach, Downey said he has graduated more than 90 percent of his players.
He shouldn't be labeled as such, any more than every junior college transfer should be considered a high-risk athlete.
That doesn't mean the borderline guys will get a chance at UC.
I'm not sure they should, either.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.