Bailey Kowalski said she reported the assault to a university counselor but was discouraged from going to the authorities.
A new scandal is brewing at Michigan State University after a student claimed she was raped by three members of the 2015 basketball team in 2015.
“I was only 18 years old as a freshman when I was gang-raped,” Bailey Kowalski said Thursday at a press conference. "No one prepares an 18-year-old to go through something like that."
Kowalski was a freshman with dreams of becoming a sports journalist, but she said her life was upended on April 12, 2015.
The Michigan team had just lost in the semi-final of the 2015 NCAA championship. She said she met the three players at an off-campus party and they invited her to an apartment. It was there that she said they took turns raping her.
Kowalski said she reported the rape to a university counselor but was discouraged from going to the authorities. Now, she's suing the school.
Her attorneys claim she was told by staff at the school: “If you pursue this, you are going to be swimming with some really big fish."
But the school disputes that.
“While MSU cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing lawsuit, we applaud the courage of all survivors who come forward to tell their story as we continue to listen and learn from them," University Spokesperson Emily Gerkin Guerrant told Inside Edition in a statement.
“Since 2015, we have worked to improve our prevention and response efforts, especially for survivors who have to navigate complex systems and try to make informed decisions under difficult circumstances. We acknowledge it has been a challenge in the past for students, faculty, and staff to find resources, so we created the Know More campaign in Fall 2018 to help educate students about the services and programs here to support them. We have put more attention and resources into improved counseling services, created a dedicated office for Prevention, Education and Outreach within the Title IX office, and we are adding a SANE program to help those on campus who have been assaulted," the statement continued.
“We are committed to listening to survivors who bravely tell us about their experiences so that we can improve our response and help those who seek support in the future," the school's statement concluded.
Kowalski spoke to The New York Times in an article published Thursday, saying she felt obliged to go public.
"I don't want any other girl who has gone through this or who, God forbid, may have to go through something like this, to feel for one second that they should be too afraid to come out and do something," Kowalski said.
During her press conference Thursday, she said she is "not ashamed" to speak up, adding, "I am empowered to do this."
Michigan State University is still reeling from the Larry Nassar scandal, which led to the resignation of the university's president and athletic director.
Kowalski is declining to name the men she says raped her.