PRESS RELEASE – MAY 26, 2020
For immediate release
For more information:
Dr. B. David Ridpath, Ed.D.
The Drake Group
The Drake Group Reaction to New NCAA Athlete Misconduct Policies
NEW HAVEN, Conn. –
NCAA has adopted another toothless rule regarding athletes and sexual assault that does little to address the problem. Admittedly, the NCAA states in its prevention toolkit on sexual assault that the prevalence and damaging effects of sexual violence are “extreme and unacceptable.” But it refuses to adopt rules that would ban from intercollegiate sports athletes found to have committed sexual assault.
The new rule requires recruits, transfer athletes, and current athletes to disclose whether they have been accused of a sexual assault that resulted in an investigation or discipline via a Title IX proceeding or a criminal investigation. The rule also requires schools to take reasonable steps to confirm and provide information to other schools and to gather conduct-related information from athletes’ former schools. Failure by the athlete to disclose may result in penalties, including loss of athletic eligibility. Institutional failure to comply with the disclosure policy may disqualify a school from hosting a championship competition the next year. Considering the enormity of the problem they are designed to address, these disclosure requirements, undefined policies that schools should develop, and mostly meaningless penalties are woefully inadequate.
Some conferences, including the Big 12, Pac.-12, and SEC, and some schools, such as Indiana University and the University of Texas-San Antonio, have, to varying degrees, banned from intercollegiate competition athletes found to have committed sexual assault. The Drake Group urges the NCAA to adopt similar rules and more. Besides banning from competition recruits and current or transfer athletes who commit sexual assault, the NCAA should deal with the most persistent problem related to sexual assault: accused athletes being allowed to continue to play or to transfer immediately to another school and avoid a Title IX proceeding.
More accountability, transparency, and required communication among schools are necessary regarding any athlete who has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or who has been found in a school disciplinary hearing or a court proceeding to have committed sexual assault. Only the NCAA can adopt a rule that would have the necessary reach, that is, a uniform rule that would bind every NCAA member. (See The Drake Group position paper, Need for National Collegiate Athletic Governance Organization Rules Related to Athlete Sexual Misconduct and Other Physical Violence, for specific proposals.)
A hopeful sign that the NCAA will adopt such a rule is that it is now a defendant in two separate actions (one a purported class action) for its failure to supervise, regulate, and monitor its members concerning sexual assaults by athletes and to provide appropriate rules to minimize the risk of such assaults. Perhaps the desire to avoid another expensive legal defense will nudge the NCAA to adopt meaningful reforms.
Media and other NIL queries may be directed to Drake NCAA rules compliance expert B. David Ridpath, firstname.lastname@example.org