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Board of Governors expands sexual violence policy

New measures could result in penalties, including loss of athletics eligibility

The NCAA Board of Governors, the Association’s top governing body, has expanded its existing association-wide campus sexual violence policy.

According to the new policy, all incoming, current and transfer college athletes must disclose annually to their school whether their conduct has resulted in an investigation, discipline through a Title IX proceeding or a criminal conviction for sexual, interpersonal or other acts of violence. A failure by the athlete to accurately and fully disclose investigatory activity, a disciplinary action or criminal conviction may result in penalties, including a loss of athletics eligibility as determined by the school.

In addition, schools will need to take reasonable steps to confirm the information provided by prospective, continuing and transfer student-athletes and provide it to other member schools if the student-athlete attempts to enroll in a different college or university. Finally, NCAA member schools must have policies in place to gather conduct-related information from former schools attended by recruited prospects or transfer student-athletes.

This policy is a culmination of discussions the Board began in January of this year. The board’s action will require disclosure beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.

“The action is the latest step by the Association, consistent with its values, in supporting NCAA member schools to address sexual violence on their campuses,” said Michael V. Drake, chair of the board and president of The Ohio State University.

In August 2017, the board adopted the previous policy requiring coaches, college athletes and athletics administrators to complete sexual violence prevention education each year. As part of the policy, each member school must confirm their athletics department is informed on and compliant with school policies regarding sexual violence prevention and proper adjudication and resolution of acts of sexual violence to be eligible to host NCAA championships.

The board has taken several steps to address sexual violence in the past ten years, including providing member institutions with recommendations for how to address reports of sexual violence and promote a culture on campus that is free from sexual violence.  In 2014, the governance body passed a resolution that lays out expectations for athletics departments.

The NCAA also created the sexual violence prevention tool kit to aid athletics administrators in their efforts to create campus communities free of violence and foster safe places for students to learn and thrive.

Schools remain responsible for personnel background checks for those engaging with student-athletes.  Further, schools continue to have responsibility to set standards for appropriate conduct with students, investigation of alleged inappropriate conduct, and resulting discipline to those engaging with student-athletes.