Title IX is a federal law that aims to prohibit gender discrimination against students who attend federally funded colleges and universities. This law's initial function was to establish equal opportunities for women in intercollegiate sports. But in recent years, the national conversations had about Title IX overwhelmingly concern a more prevalent form of gender discrimination: sexual misconduct. In the wake of unrelenting advocacy efforts, national movements like “Me Too,” and an alarming rate of lawsuits, the guidelines for resolving complaints of sexual misconduct in Arizona higher education institutions today are clearer than ever.
Being accused of sexual misconduct is an uphill battle. There's a stigma that comes with being labeled as a respondent that often warrants premature judgment and ill-treatment far before you get a chance to prove your innocence. Being a student-athlete who also happens to be a respondent adds another layer of complexity to a whirlwind of a process. To successfully navigate the Title IX process as a student-athlete respondent, you certainly need the help of an attorney advisor. Here's why:
You Might Be Suspended Pending an Investigation
When it comes to handling criminal charges, Arizona colleges, and other institutions across the country tend to swiftly bring down the hammer. Take the UCLA shoplifting scandal in China, for example. The basketball players were suspended indefinitely for engaging in the misconduct. But the nature of Title IX investigations seems to generate a more unpredictable response. In the absence of specific uniform protocol guidelines, third parties like sports directors and coaches have the discretion to make decisions that can affect your collegiate athletic career. These figures may or may not be motivated by the desire to maintain scandal-free programs.
Some schools have decided to crack down on this phenomenon by only allowing administrators and deans to determine interim measures while under investigation, rather than coaches and athletic directors. This is why it's important you understand your school's rules regarding if and when you'll play while under investigation.
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
The NCAA has made a point to get more serious about barring college-athletes who have been found responsible for sexual misconduct from receiving and maintaining athletic scholarships. The organization has gotten more strict due to pressure from lobbyists and advocacy groups.
The Odds Are Against You
According to an analysis by ESPN television program, Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct at Power 5 conference schools. The data provided that about 6.3 percent of Title IX complaints against students - whether the complaint resulted in a formal investigation or not - involved an athlete as the person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes were found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
The findings of this analysis may not be all too surprising given the countless number of high-profile cases of sexual misconduct that have surfaced involving very prominent student-athletes. Nonetheless, this information should compel you to ensure that the adjudication process is as fair as it could possibly be.
Are You a Student-Athlete Respondent? You Need the Help of a Legal Representative
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and that your rights are protected in a Title IX investigation in Arizona to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for respondents. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill and expertise to help you effectively navigate the process. For a case evaluation or for more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.
Arizona colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student athlete's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- American Indian College of the Assemblies of God, Inc.
- Argosy University Phoenix
- Argosy University Phoenix Online Division
- Arizona Christian University
- Arizona College of Allied Health
- Arizona State University
- Arizona Western College
- Brown Mackie College Phoenix
- Brown Mackie College Tucson
- Central Arizona College
- Chamberlain College of Nursing Arizona
- Chandler/Gilbert Community College
- Cochise College
- Coconino Community College
- College America Flagstaff
- CollegeAmerica Phoenix
- Collins College
- DeVry University Arizona
- Dine College
- Eastern Arizona College
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott
- Estrella Mountain Community College
- Everest College Phoenix
- Everest College Phoenix
- Fortis College Phoenix
- GateWay Community College
- Glendale Community College
- Golf Academy of America Chandler
- Grand Canyon University
- International Baptist College
- ITT Technical Institute Phoenix
- ITT Technical Institute Phoenix West
- ITT Technical Institute Tempe
- ITT Technical Institute Tucson
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale
- Mesa Community College
- Mohave Community College
- National Paralegal College
- Northcentral University Prescott
- Northern Arizona University
- Northland Pioneer College
- Paradise Valley Community College
- Phoenix College
- Pima Community College
- Prescott College
- Rio Salado College
- Sanford Brown College Phoenix
- Scottsdale Community College
- South Mountain Community College
- Southwest University of Visual Arts Tucson
- The Art Institute of Phoenix
- The Art Institute of Tucson
- Tohono O'Odham Community College
- University of Advancing Technology
- University of Arizona
- University of Phoenix Online Campus
- University of Phoenix Phoenix Hohokam Campus
- University of Phoenix Southern Arizona Campus
- Western International University
- Yavapai College
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; student athletes in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Arizona who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, many student athletes and their families, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but student athletes and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of student athletes at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that a student athlete's academic and professional future, in addition to a post-college athletic career, is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to student athletes facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Arizona and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.