NCAA’s Sexual Violence Reporting Obligations

After the NCAA decided not to reprimand Baylor University for mishandling multiple sexual assault claims in 2016, the collegiate community urged the NCAA to update its policies on sexual violence prevention. In 2021, the NCAA Board of Governors updated its Campus Sexual Violence Policy to require all member schools to vet all incoming and transfer student-athletes. By the 2022-2023 academic year each university President, Director of Athletics, and Title IX Coordinator of an NCAA school must attest that:

1) All incoming and transfer student-athletes have disclosed any conduct that resulted in disciplinary action through a Title IX investigation or criminal conviction for acts of sexual violence. Additionally, transfer student-athletes have disclosed the status of such Title IX proceedings at the time of the transfer.

2) The institution has taken reasonable steps to confirm whether incoming, current, or transfer student-athletes have been disciplined in a Title IX or criminally convicted of sexual violence.

3) The institution has shared relevant disciplinary information and Title IX proceedings with the other NCAA schools when a student-athlete wishes to transfer or enroll in a new school.

4) When recruiting incoming or transfer students-athletes, the institution has a written procedure that directs athletic staff to gather information from the athlete’s former institution regarding any Title IX complete or incomplete proceedings, or criminal conviction for sexual violence.

The NCAA further states that failure to comply would result in penalties, including becoming ineligible to participate in athletic events for the next academic year. Additionally, the NCAA released a “Sexual Violence Prevention Tool Kit” to help schools educate students and staff about recognizing and preventing sexual harassment. These steps, the NCAA believes, will provide accountability and guidance for schools and safer athletic programs for students.

Here are a few simple steps institutions can take to assist your campus, student-athletes, and coaches to comply and to the requirements:

1) Identify behaviors that need to be reported-

    • Sexual Violence: A term used to include both forcible and nonforcible sex offenses, ranging from sexual battery, sexual assault to rape;
    • Interpersonal Violence: Violence that is predominantly caused due to the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, including dating and domestic violence; and
    • Other Acts of Violence: Crimes including murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault or any assault that employs the use of a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury.

2) Explain the reporting and review requirements to current student-athletes, what they will need to attest and how they will need to do it if they ever plan to transfer.

3) Explain the reporting and review requirements to coaches and athletic department staff.

4) Explain the reporting and review requirement to new coaches and athletic department staff in their onboarding process.

5) Add the reporting and review information to the curriculum for new student-athlete orientation.

6) Assign a team/committee of employees to be responsible reviewing and evaluating athletics applications to confirm whether athletes have been convicted or found responsible for reportable conduct. This may include, but is not limited to, Title IX Coordinator, Student Conduct Director, Athletics Representatives, and Admissions Representatives.

7) Draft a written procedure for gathering information from prior institutions.

8) Assign an employee to be responsible for reporting and assigning disciplinary information.

9) Create forms for self-reporting and institutional reporting.

10) Establish a secure location to house and retain the information sought and reviewed related to incoming and transferring student athletes.

These expectations will place a significant burden on institutions at a time when they are already understaffed with employees wearing multiple hats. It is critical that preparation for these requirements happen now so that institutions are not scrambling as the next academic year approaches and the requirements go into effect.

ICS provides a wide range of Title IX and related compliance services for schools and institutions. Contact us for more information.

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