In the era of “Me Too,” colleges and universities have become increasingly mindful of how they handle complaints of sexual misconduct. Accountability is a concept that's constantly being reinforced by Title IX and society. Overall, this is good news. Sexual misconduct is a form of gender discrimination that should always be met with swift repercussions. But a growing number of people have become concerned with the fairness of school practices, especially in incidents involving student-athletes who have been falsely accused.
The very nature of sexual misconduct allegations prompts immediate judgment. Premature judgment becomes dangerous in cases like this where biases can influence the determination that seals your fate. If you're a student-athlete who's been accused, you'll be perceived as a monster by some of your classmates, teammates, friends, and family before you get a chance to make your case. That's how stigmas work, and that may not ever change. But all hope is not lost. To gain control over your situation and level the playing field, you can get the help of a student defense attorney. If you need further convincing, here are some reasons why getting a legal representative would be a critical move.
College Athletes Are More Likely to be Named as Respondents in Title IX Complaints
A study conducted by ESPN's “Outside the Lines,” revealed a shocking reality: college students are three times more likely to be named as respondents in Title IX cases alleging sexual assault and sexual harassment. The analysis concluded that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints named a student-athlete as a respondent or the person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes in these cases were found “responsible” for these accusations was not included in the study.
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. And 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 accusation. In the past, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been under fire for going too easy college athletes with a history of sexual violence. But due to pressure from lobbyists and advocacy groups, the association has started cracking 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 if you've been accused.
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 Arkansas schools are ironically harder to gauge.
In the absence of 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 would be made with your best interest in mind, but that isn't always 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.
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 oversight of an experienced attorney advisor.
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 Utah 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.
Utah 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:
- AmeriTech College Draper
- Argosy University Salt Lake City
- Brigham Young University Provo
- Broadview Entertainment Arts University
- Broadview University Layton
- Broadview University Orem
- Broadview University West Jordan
- DeVry University Utah
- Dixie State College of Utah
- Eagle Gate College Layton
- Eagle Gate College Murray
- Eagle Gate College Salt Lake City
- Fortis College Salt Lake City
- Independence University
- ITT Technical Institute Murray
- Latter day Saints Business College
- Neumont University
- Provo College American Fork
- Provo College Provo
- Salt Lake Community College
- Snow College
- Southern Utah University
- Stevens Henager College of Business Provo
- Stevens Henager College Logan
- Stevens Henager College Murray
- Stevens Henager College Ogden
- The Art Institute of Salt Lake City
- University of Phoenix Utah Campus
- University of Utah
- Utah State University
- Utah State University College of Eastern Utah
- Utah Valley University
- Weber State University
- Westminster 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 Utah 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 Utah and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.