While there is a strong and well-intentioned effort to end gender violence and sexual assault in college football, part of schools' responsibility is to properly handle complaints in the unfortunate event they come forward.
And with that, Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning Newshas reported that Texas A&M is taking a hard-line approach in handling said complaints by requiring coaches to come forward with any complaints or accusations that cross their desk, or risk being fired immediately for cause.
From the report:
The university states the assistants are to contact the school's Title IX coordinator, the athletic department's senior woman coordinator or law enforcement regarding the specified situations: "in the case of an emergency situation... alleged or suspected illegal gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, stalking and/or related retaliation."
The contracts also state the assistants must meet with A&M's senior woman administrator or a substitute at least once a year to discuss their role in Title IX compliance.
Previous contracts included standard language that allowed the university to fire coaches should they engage in illegal, unethical or otherwise embarrassing conduct, but this specifically-lined-out clause is new to A&M, Baby reports.
The language is included in contracts for offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey, tight ends coach Tim Brewster, defensive ends coach Terry Price and assistant AD for football Mark Robinson, all of whom had their deals reported yesterday.
Obviously, Texas A&M is looking to avoid repeating the history of the school 90-odd miles to its northwest, where a record-breaking coaching staff was blown out amid unreported sexual assaults by the football players and/or a cover-up by the school's board, depending on who's doing the talking.
First and foremost, this clause protects the alleged victim by making sure any complaints are placed in the hands of the proper authorities and not handled in-house by the football program. Obviously, this is the first, second, third and fourth most important aspect at play here.
But another byproduct here is that this clause also protects the coaches. If a coach becomes aware of alleged gender violence committed by one of his players, he is contractually required to report it to a proper authority, which then removes the responsibility for him to adjudicate or investigate serious legal matters.