Title IX is a federal law that protects students attending federally-funded higher education institutions from gender discrimination. Although the law covers a broad span of issues under the realm of gender discrimination, the most pervasive and rampant issue it addresses today is sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct is occurring at an all-time high on college and university campuses. In an attempt to reduce these rates, the federal government has given schools the responsibility to resolve all complaints alleging sexual misconduct.
Colleges are aware that their handling of these incidents could taint a reputation they've worked hard to build. Lethargic responses to sexual misconduct just aren't acceptable anymore, so institutions have made a point to avoid coming off as if they aren't taking the matter seriously. They've done this by publicly outing respondents, and swiftly imposing interim measures, like a suspension in cases involving student-athletes. An understandable move on their part, but an effort that puts accused student-athletes in a volatile predicament.
If you are a student-athlete who's been accused of sexual misconduct at a West Virginia institution, one thing is for certain: you need the help of a student defense attorney. Here are some convincing reasons why:
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned athletic scholarships understand the hard work and dedication that goes into being an exceptional athlete. To be great, you need to be committed. And athletes commit a good chunk of their time to conditioning, training, and honing their schools to stand out. But despite training extremely hard to earn an athletic scholarship, you must understand that this opportunity is contingent upon very specific conditions. Unfortunately, what many student-athletes learn (the hard way) is how easy it is for a scholarship to slip through their fingers.
It only takes one false accusation. The National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) response to allegations has gone from lethargic to almost assertive in recent years, as the program has cracked down on student-athletes on scholarship with a history of sexual violence. To strip away a scholarship has become the norm, and it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative to ensure it doesn't happen to you.
The Odds Are Against You
According to an analysis by ESPN television show Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct. Yes, you read that right. Merely being student-athlete increases your chances of being named as a respondent in a Title IX case alleging sexual misconduct.
The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students involved athletes as a respondent. Whether or not the student-athletes were actually found “responsible” for these accusations was not included in the study.
You Could Be Suspended Upon Investigation
When a student-athlete is accused of sexual misconduct, a number of interim measures are imposed in response. Interim measures are guidelines that limit or outright prohibit the interactions between respondents and victims. One of the most inconvenient interim measures for student-athletes is suspension from the team.
In many cases, coaches and athletic directors have the discretion to decide whether or not to impose these interim measures. In a perfect world, you'd trust that these decisions are made in your best interest, but unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes the decision to bench you or suspend you from the team is made to keep the team out of a negative spotlight.
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 West Virginia 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.
West Virginia 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:
- Alderson Broaddus College
- American Public University System
- Appalachian Bible College
- Bethany College
- Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
- Bluefield State College
- Bridgemont Community and Technical College
- Concord University
- Davis & Elkins College
- Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College
- Fairmont State University
- Glenville State College
- Huntington Junior College
- ITT Technical Institute Huntington
- Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College
- Marshall University
- Mountain State College
- Mountain State University
- Mountwest Community and Technical College
- New River Community and Technical College
- Ohio Valley University
- Pierpont Community and Technical College
- Potomac State College of West Virginia University
- Salem International University
- Shepherd University
- Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
- University of Charleston
- Valley College Beckley
- Valley College Martinsburg
- Valley College Princeton
- West Liberty University
- West Virginia Business College Wheeling
- West Virginia Junior College Bridgeport
- West Virginia Junior College Charleston
- West Virginia Junior College Morgantown
- West Virginia Northern Community College
- West Virginia State University
- West Virginia University
- West Virginia University at Parkersburg
- West Virginia University Institute of Technology
- West Virginia Wesleyan College
- Wheeling Jesuit 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 complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in West Virginia 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 West Virginia and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.