NCAA Finally Does Something About Athlete Sex Assault Cases

The National Collegiate Athletic Association made it clear last week its member colleges should not allow athletic departments to control investigations of sexual assault involving student athletes.

To little fanfare, the NCAA Executive Committee passed a resolution Friday addressing the apparent conflict of interest that was allowed to exist.

NCAA President Mark Emmert was grilled by a group of Senators on July 9 about why athletic departments had oversight of sexual assault investigations involving athletes. A national survey by the staff of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released that day showed one in five colleges and universities ceded control of athlete sex assault cases to athletic departments.

Emmert hesitated to promise the Senators he'd make any swift changes, saying he wanted to "understand the data" better, but did say he'd make sure the issue is addressed.

The resolution that passed on Aug. 8 declared NCAA members must work to "assure that student athletes are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by special treatment" around sexual assault cases.

Institutions' athletics departments must comply with campus authorities in these cases; educate all student-athletes, coaches and staff about sexual violence prevention and intervention; and "Cooperate with but not manage, direct, control or interfere with college or university investigations into allegations of sexual violence ensuring that investigations involving student-athletes and athletics department staff are managed in the same manner as all other students and staff on campus."