The University of Texas San Antonio will become the first school in the nation to implement the Tracy Rule, attaching athletics eligibility to student-athlete behavior as a means of eradicating sexual violence on campus.
Named for sexual assault survivor and activist Brenda Tracy, who visited the UTSA campus to help implement the policy changes, the rule ensures that any current or prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor involving serious misconduct, has been found a delinquent in relationship to a juvenile code equivalent, or has been disciplined by the university or athletic department at any time during enrollment at any collegiate institution will not be eligible for athletically related financial aid, practice or competition at UTSA, according to a report on mysanantonio.com.
"Sexual assault and misconduct are never, ever acceptable," UTSA athletics director Lisa Campos, said in a release. "By implementing the UTSA Tracy Rule, we are letting current and prospective student-athletes know that UTSA is a community where conduct off the field is just as important as conduct on the field."
As founder of the national campaign and nonprofit SetTheExpectation, Tracy has traveled the country since 2016 to share her story as the survivor of a 1998 gang rape by football players at Oregon State. She has spoken to more than 80 football teams and numerous other groups, encouraging her audiences to speak out against sexual assault and physical violence and to use their platform to influence those around them to do the same.
"I hope that other schools will follow their example and make student safety, accountability and transparency a priority, not just through their words but in policy reform, as UTSA has done," Tracy said, as reported by mysanantonio.com.
To support Tracy's awareness campaign, UTSA held three #SetTheExpectation games during the spring of 2019, including a softball game on April 9 in which Tracy traveled to campus to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
UTSA has planned additional #SetTheExpectation games for this academic year, including the football home contest against Southern Miss on Nov. 16 at the Alamodome.
According to spectrumlocalnews.com, the policy states, “A current or prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor involving Serious Misconduct, has been found a delinquent in relationship to a juvenile code equivalent, or has been disciplined by the university or athletic department at any time during enrollment at any collegiate institution (excluding temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) due to Serious Misconduct shall not be eligible for athletically related financial aid, practice or competition at The University of Texas at San Antonio.”
The policy also requires all current and prospective athletes, including transfer students, to complete a due diligence inquiry questionnaire, which asks about any violent or criminal conduct.
“The questions cover every loophole I can think of and every case I’ve encountered of how schools and coaches shirk responsibility for who they bring on or keep on campus. Transparency and accountability is important,” Tracy said.