Virginia School Becomes Second to Adopt Tracy Rule

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Brenda Tracy
Photo courtesy of Brenda Tracy

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has become just the second school in the nation to adopt the Tracy Rule, which requires thorough background checks for athletes and bans those found responsible in a Title IX hearing or court for sexual or violent offenses from playing on varsity sports teams. 

"For us, it's kind of a natural next step in continuing to develop our campus culture," UVA Wise athletic director Kendall Rainey said in an interview with USA TODAY. "It's about continuing to educate our college constituents on how we can just be better, and just be the best us we can be."

The move by Wise comes after the NCAA in April of 2020 announced a new policy that requires NCAA athletes to annually disclose to their schools any allegations of sexual violence against them that resulted in an investigation, discipline through a Title IX proceeding or criminal conviction.

The USA Today last year published an in-depth report on how many athletes who had been convicted of sexual assault or other violent crimes had been able to move schools and continue playing. In some instance, the report suggested that school officials ignored allegations against the players.

The Tracy Rule is aimed at closing loopholes in the NCAA’s policies, which requires athletes to self-report pending and closed investigations in an annual questionnaire. The rule, which is named after gang-rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy, automatically disqualifies athletes if they have been found at fault for any violent offense.

The University of Texas at San Antonio was the first school to adopt the rule back in 2019.

"Not everybody has the courage of UTSA and UVA Wise," Tracy told USA TODAY. "I believe they're setting an example for other schools, and hopefully other schools will see what they're doing and realize that this is not as scary as they think it is, and that this is a good thing for our campuses and communities."

According to the USA TODAY, those athletes who are disqualified can appeal to a university review panel. The president and athletic director then make the final decision. 

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