The NCAA has now very quietly pushed back its newest sexual violence policy by an entire year. This hushed decision is untimely after an explosive piece from the USA Today published Monday reported on alleged sexual violence, dating violence and more at LSU.
The new policy was set to be enacted at the start of 2021, but now the NCAA will allow schools until the 2022-2023 school year to comply with the policy. Reports say that the NCAA has cited the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for postponement. The policy applies to over a thousand colleges across the country.
The policy changes were passed in April of this year after the NCAA was pushed towards action regarding sexual violence involving athletic programs. The policy requires that all student-athletes must report to their school any history they have of Title IX disciplinary actions and/or any criminal investigations for sexual and other acts of violence. The schools are then responsible for diligently confirming the information and sharing it with other institutions as necessary. Schools will also be required to prove their compliance on a yearly basis.
In January at the annual conference, Mark Emert, President of the NCAA, stated that there would be NCAA legislation coming that would promote schools’ access to student-athletes history in an effort to address sexual violence. Emert said, “We want to make sure that everybody has that information and that everyone is making decisions based on the best information available. And we’re not sure that that’s always the case today.”
An investigation in 2019 completed by USA Today found that a considerable number of athletes who after being expelled for sexual misconduct, transfer to a different university to continue their athletic career. The 2019 investigation by USA Today said of the NCAA, “…nothing in its 440 page rulebook stops those found responsible for sexual or violent misconduct from competing”. Now there will be.
Some say the delay in enacting the policy allows time for schools to prepare for the changes and finalize details while others say that the postponement is concerning.
While the policy is not as comprehensive as many victim advocacy groups believe that it should be, it appears that the NCAA is acknowledging the need for steps towards protections for victims.
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