The Southeastern Conference is slated to greenlight a rule barring student-athletes with “histor[ies] of sexual assault, stalking or interpersonal violence” from transferring to any of its 14 schools for any sport, according to The New York Times.
The new policy, which comes just about one week after chaos covered the campus of (Big 12 school) Baylor over the football program’s treatment of sexual assault allegations, was unanimously approved by each of the programs’ head football coaches.
Why did they do so? Simply because “it’s the right thing to do," University of Florida lead man Jim McElwain explained. Emphasizing the importance of its students' safety, the Pac-12 passed a similar decree earlier this spring.
The rule goes further than the “serious misconduct” ban established just last year, which forbade SEC universities from taking in athletes who had been “disciplined” by their former schools for “serious misconduct[s]” -- an umbrella term that included domestic violence, sexual assault or “other forms of sexual violence.”
The language in the new statute is expected to be vaguer and more inclusive than that of last season, with the aim of taking into account incidents of “violence and stalking” that don’t fall under the three categories mentioned above.
“We set the standard last year, and others have followed,” commissioner Greg Sankey stated Tuesday. “Our policies will become more clear this week. We’ll see if they continue to follow.”
With the SEC wielding tremendous power in the competitive, contentious web that is the NCAA, it’s notable and commendable that these 14 schools seem to be taking a step to publicly and permanently eschew potential advantages on field or court for what they believe is “the right thing to do.”
Now, hopefully, more conferences will fall in step.