In a letter sent to the commissioners of the NCAA’s Power 5 conferences, eight U.S. Senators have called on leaders to address sexual violence within college athletics.
The letter addresses what the senators describe as the failures of the now-dissolved NCAA Commission to Combat Sexual Violence to recommend “meaningful solutions.” It asks the commissioners to consider evaluating their policies for addressing sexual violence and misconduct.
Some conferences and individual universities have newly implemented policies in place to prevent student-athletes with a history sexual assault from transferring into member schools, a fact which the letter acknowledges. “In the absence of NCAA leadership, several universities and athletic conferences across the country have proactively implemented policies to address sexual violence and serious misconduct on campus,” the letter reads.
ESPN.com reports that the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC have such policies, as does Indiana University.
The letter asks the commissioners to provide the senators answers to questions for addressing sexual violence among student-athletes. The commissioners are asked to provide information on the steps they’ve taken to reduce student-athlete sexual violence, what plans they have for addressing those issues in the future, whether they’ve considered conference-wide policy changes, whether the disbanded Commission’s recommendations have proven effective, whether member institutions refuse admission or financial aid to those with sexual assault in their background, whether they have policies to address student-athletes with criminal records, whether they request background checks and how they ensure student’s privacy rights.
“All students deserve the opportunity to obtain higher education free from sexual violence or misconduct,” the letter reads. “We urge you to work with sexual assault survivors, victim’s rights groups, and other advocacy organizations to take meaningful action so students can feel truly safe on campus.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, Jeffrey Merkley, Richard Blumenthal, Tina Smith, Patty Murray, Margaret Wood Hassan, Amy Klobuchar and Edward Markey.