You've likely heard the stories about just how rampant sexual misconduct is in South Dakota colleges and universities, and in schools across the country. In response to this issue, numerous call-to-actions, unrelenting advocacy efforts, national movements, and an alarming number of lawsuits have been filed. All efforts that contributed to prompting the government to make Title IX guidelines more clear and immediate than ever.
Being accused of sexual misconduct in a Title IX complaint will be an uphill battle. You will be judged by just about everybody before you get the chance to prove your innocence. Being a student-athlete who happens to also 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, one thing is for sure: you need the help of a student defense attorney. Here's why:
You Could Be Suspended Pending an Investigation
In terms of handling criminal charges, South Dakota institutions, and other colleges and universities across the country tend to swiftly bring down the hammer. Take a look at the popular case involving three UCLA players who were suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of a shoplifting scandal in China.
However, the nature of Title IX investigations seems to generate a more unpredictable reaction from schools. Third parties like coaches and athletic directors often have the discretion to make decisions that can drastically affect your collegiate athletic career. In some ways, the exposure of a student-athlete is solely in the hands of an athletic director, who may or not be motivated by the desire to maintain scandal-free programs.
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
Many student-athletes learn (the hard way) that 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 Are More Likely to be Named as 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.
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 South Carolina 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.
South Dakota 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:
- Augustana College
- Black Hills State University
- Colorado Technical University Sioux Falls
- Dakota State University
- Dakota Wesleyan University
- Globe University Sioux Falls
- Kilian Community College
- Lake Area Technical Institute
- Mitchell Technical Institute
- Mount Marty College
- National American University Ellsworth AFB Extension
- National American University Rapid City
- National American University Sioux Falls
- Northern State University
- Oglala Lakota College
- Presentation College
- Sinte Gleska University
- Sisseton Wahpeton College
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- South Dakota State University
- Southeast Technical Institute
- University of Sioux Falls
- University of South Dakota
- Western Dakota Technical Institute
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 South Dakota 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 South Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.