Society has a love-hate relationship with Title IX because in today's climate, its enforcement is swift and impactful. When complaints of sexual misconduct are reported, the newfound responsibility of colleges and universities to adjudicate these complaints has prompted schools to act with vigor. Not merely because it's the right thing to do, but because of the fact that the majority of their federal funding is at stake if found doing otherwise.
Victims and supporters of current Title IX guidelines claim that the state of affairs is ideal and that measures like outing respondents and imposing interim measures are for the greater good. Due process advocates, on the other hand, argue these measures are overzealous and undermine the fact that respondents are innocent until proven guilty.
Regardless of how your school decides to handle Title IX cases, it's important each party's rights are protected. Because of the nature of Title IX cases, being accused of sexual misconduct will be a challenging experience, to say the least. And if you are a student-athlete, the process becomes even more complicated than it already is. This is why navigating your school's process undoubtedly requires the help of a skilled attorney-advisor. If you aren't yet convinced, here are a few good reasons:
There's a Possibility You'll Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned sports scholarships know better than anyone about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into becoming an exceptional athlete. To be great, you have to be dedicated. And you've likely dedicated countless hours of your time to training, conditioning and honing your skills to dominate in your sport. But despite training hard enough to earn a college athletic scholarship, it's important you understand that these scholarships are contingent upon certain conditions. What most student-athletes learn (the hard way) is that it's actually pretty easy for an athletic scholarship to slip through your fingers.
All it takes is one false accusation. In the past, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been under fire for going too easy on college athletes with a history of sexual violence. But pressure from lobbyists and advocacy groups has now prompted the association to crack down on athletes who are found responsible for sexual misconduct by barring them from receiving and maintaining athletic scholarships. With your scholarship 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
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% 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. You can only guarantee fairness and due process with the guidance of an experienced attorney advisor.
You Might Be Suspended Pending an Investigation
Higher education institutions are big on integrity. This is why colleges and universities don't hesitate to bring down the hammer when their students acquire criminal charges. Take the UCLA shoplifting scandal that surfaced in 2017. Freshman athletes LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were suspended indefinitely immediately after allegations of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while in China. But when it comes to Title IX investigations, the response of Oregon institutions are ironically harder to gauge.
Without a specific uniform protocol, third parties like coaches and athletic directors have the discretion to make decisions that can affect your athletic career. It would be nice to think that these decisions are being made with your best interest in mind, but that is rarely the case. Whether or not you play may or may not be motivated by the desire of an athletic coach to maintain a scandal-free program.
Some schools have limited the freedom of athletic figures like coaches and directors by creating rules that solely allow administrators and deans to impose interim measures. This is why understanding your school's rules regarding your eligibility to play is important.
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 Oregon is to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for student-athlete 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.
Oregon 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:
- Blue Mountain Community College
- Central Oregon Community College
- Chemeketa Community College
- Clackamas Community College
- Clatsop Community College
- Columbia Gorge Community College
- Concordia University Portland
- Corban University
- DeVry University Oregon
- Eastern Oregon University
- Everest College Portland
- George Fox University
- Heald College Portland
- ITT Technical Institute Portland
- Klamath Community College
- Lane Community College
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Portland
- Lewis & Clark College
- Linfield College McMinnville Campus
- Linn Benton Community College
- Marylhurst University
- Mount Angel Seminary
- Mt Hood Community College
- Multnomah University
- New Hope Christian College
- Northwest Christian University
- Oregon Coast Community College
- Oregon College of Art and Craft
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Oregon State University
- Pacific Northwest College of Art
- Pacific University
- Pioneer Pacific College
- Portland Community College
- Portland State University
- Reed College
- Rogue Community College
- Sanford Brown College Portland
- Southern Oregon University
- Southwestern Oregon Community College
- The Art Institute of Portland
- Tillamook Bay Community College
- Treasure Valley Community College
- Umpqua Community College
- University of Oregon
- University of Phoenix Oregon Campus
- University of Portland
- University of Western States
- Warner Pacific College
- Western Oregon University
- Willamette University
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 Oregon 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 Oregon and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.