When it comes to college athletes and sexual misconduct, colleges and universities have learned to tread lightly in Title IX cases. Presidents of institutions (and their public relations teams) are mindful that the mismanagement of one case is all it takes to tarnish a reputation they're worked hard to build. In an era where immediate punishment and total disclosure is expected, colleges find themselves struggling to find the line between fair treatment and overzealous measures.
In fear of backlash, many institutions today rather stay in society's good graces. The status quo now is to publicly announce the incident to the masses and impose a swift suspension in the name of being transparent, all while leaving student-athletes to pick up the pieces.
If you are a student-athlete who's been accused of sexual misconduct, the process you're about to undergo won't be easy. You will be judged by your classmates, friends, family, and the general public before you get the opportunity to clear your name. If the claims are false or exaggerated, it may feel like nobody believes you. But the worst part of this whole debacle is the fact that your athletic career is in jeopardy.
Regardless of the situation, all students deserve due process and the preservation of their rights. The only way to affirm you get what you are promised is with the representation of an experienced student defense attorney. If you still aren't convinced, here are a few reasons why you should consider letting a legal professional help you:
You Are More Likely to be Named a Respondent
You may be surprised to hear that merely being a student-athlete significantly increases your chances of being accused of sexual misconduct. In fact, according to a study conducted by ESPN's “Outside the Lines,” college athletes are three times more likely than their average counterparts to be named as a respondent. Yes, you read that right.
The data in the study revealed that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints alleging sexual misconduct involved an athlete as a person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes were actually found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
As a student-athlete, you train hard your whole for the opportunity to go to the higher education institution of your dreams 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 your scholarship stake, it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative.
You Might Be Ineligible 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 Nebraska 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.
Nebraska 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:
- Bellevue University
- BryanLGH College of Health Sciences
- Central Community College
- Chadron State College
- Clarkson College
- College of Saint Mary
- Concordia University Seward
- Creighton University
- Doane University
- Grace University
- Hastings College
- ITT Technical Institute Omaha
- Kaplan University Lincoln Campus
- Kaplan University Omaha Campus
- Little Priest Tribal College
- Metropolitan Community College Area
- Mid Plains Community College
- Midland University
- Myotherapy Institute
- Nebraska Christian College
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
- Nebraska Indian Community College
- Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
- Nebraska Wesleyan University
- Northeast Community College
- Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare of Herzing University
- Peru State College
- Southeast Community College Area
- The Creative Center
- Union College
- Universal College of Healing Arts
- University of Nebraska at Kearney
- University of Nebraska at Omaha
- University of Nebraska Lincoln
- University of Phoenix Omaha Campus
- Vatterott College Spring Valley
- Wayne State College
- Western Nebraska Community College
- York 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 Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Nebraska 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 Nebraska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.