Collegiate student-athletes are about three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct or domestic violence in complaints made at Power 5 conference schools, according to an analysis of by ESPN's Outside the Lines.
The network program sought data from all 65 Power 5 schools, with 32 providing some or all of the information requested. The Title IX complaints spanned the past six years and covered allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion, stalking or retaliation.
On average, about 6.3 percent of Title IX complaints against students — whether the complaint resulted in a formal investigation or not — included an athlete as the person accused of wrongdoing. Athletes were named in such reports more often than might be expected considering they represent, on average, just 1.7 percent of total student enrollment at the universities.
W. Scott Lewis, co-founder of the Association of Title IX Administrators and partner with The NCHERM Group consultants, said it can be helpful to know whether a student involved in a Title IX complaint is an athlete, a member of the Greek system, ROTC or any other affiliation so school officials can detect patterns and formate responses. "You're supposed to — when you're dealing with a student — understand the context of that student's experience," Lewis said, "regardless of the action they've been accused of."
Kansas State University did not have an existing report about complaints against athletes but compiled the data for Outside the Lines anyway. "If we don't know this, we should know this," said Jeff Morris, the school's vice president of communications and marketing. "We should all be paying attention."