Most colleges and universities in the state of Maryland adhere to a federal law known as Title IX. Its primary function since its enactment in 1972 has been to resolve gender-related discrimination issues in higher education. Throughout the years, Title IX has been applied in a wide span of cases - to fix the disparity in opportunities for intercollegiate women athletes to the establishment of rights for pregnant women on campus. But recently, the law is addressed due to a much more pervasive issue: sexual misconduct.
When you're accused, or otherwise named as a “respondent” in a Title IX case, you're already in for an uphill battle throughout the Title IX process. Yet another level of complexity is added into the process when you are a student-athlete. Allegations will not be taken lightly, and the stigma that accompanies the role of a respondent party will single-handedly turn your college and athletic experience upside down. To successfully navigate the Title IX process as a student-athlete and achieve due process, you absolutely need the help of an attorney-advisor. Here's why:
There's a Possibility You'll Lose Your Scholarship
As a student-athlete, you train hard your whole life for the opportunity to go to a higher education institution on scholarship. But despite the blood, sweat, and tears you put into honing your craft, a scholarship is still contingent upon certain conditions. In fact, it's pretty easy for a scholarship to slip through your fingers.
All it takes is one false accusation. In the past, athletes with a history of sexual violence only got a slap on the wrist from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). But the NCAA's response to allegations and determinations are slowly changing. Now, the organization is much less likely to let athletes slide, and is much more likely to strip scholarships. With so much at stake, it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative.
College Athletes are More Likely to be Named as Respondents in Complaints
Merely being a student-athlete increases your chances of being accused of sexual misconduct at your school. Yes, you read that right. According to analysis conducted by ESPN's “Outside the Lines,” you are actually three times more likely to be accused of sexual misconduct than the average student. The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students involved an athlete named as a respondent. Whether or not the student-athletes were found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
The findings of this analysis probably aren't all too surprising considering the number of high profile cases that routinely surface involving prominent student-athletes. Nonetheless, the state of today's circumstances should inspire you to ensure the adjudication process is as fair as it could possibly be. You can only do this by getting the help of a legal representative.
You Might Not Be Eligible to Play
After you've been accused of sexual misconduct, your school will conduct a fact-finding investigation. Throughout the course of this investigation, a series of interim measures may be imposed until a determination is made. Among the most detrimental interim measures for student-athletes is suspension from the team.
In the absence of specific uniform protocol and guidelines regarding who imposes interim measures, outside parties like athletic directors and coaches have the liberty to make decisions that will affect your athletic career. In a perfect world, you'd trust that these decisions are made in your best interest, but unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Many athletes learn the hard way that their ineligibility to play may or may not be rooted in the desire to maintain scandal-free programs.
Are You a Student-Athlete Who's Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct? Contact the Lento Law Firm
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and that your rights are protected in a Title IX investigation in Maryland is to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for respondents who are student-athletes. 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.
Maryland 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:
- Bowie State University
- Capitol Technology University
- Coppin State University
- Frostburg State University
- Goucher College
- Hood College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Loyola University Maryland
- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
- Maryland University of Integrative Health
- McDaniel College
- Morgan State University
- Mount St. Mary's University
- Notre Dame of Maryland University
- St. John's College
- St. Mary's College of Maryland
- Salisbury University
- Stevenson University
- Towson University
- United States Naval Academy (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
- University of Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
- University of Maryland, University College
- University of Maryland, Biotechnology Institute
- University of Maryland, Environmental Science
- USM Hagerstown
- Universities at Shady Grove
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
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 investigation with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Maryland 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 Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.