The University of North Texas is defending itself from claims made in a USA Today investigative story, alleging that the program has done little to prevent student-athletes with histories of sexual assault from winding up with the school’s football program.
The USA Today report, originally published on Feb. 6, claims that the Mean Green recruited two student-athletes to its football program, despite them having been disciplined for a sexual offense at their previous institution.
According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, UNT officials claimed to have no knowledge of the student-athletes’ histories prior to their recruitment.
The USA Today report suggested that UNT hasn’t taken steps to “address their shortfalls” with regard to vetting recruits, but UNT claims that it has since updated its protocols.
UNT athletic department chief operating officer Jared Mosley told the Record-Chronicle that the school hires a third-party company to run criminal background checks on recruits.
“I feel very good about the changes in our policy and what they bring to the table,” UNT athletic director Wren Baker told the Record-Chronicle. “Specifically the criminal background checks and social media reviews of every student-athlete that comes into our program. I’m not aware of anybody else in our conference doing it. So I think that was a huge step for us — it was not cheap to institute that, but we do see it as a duty of ours to try to vet anybody that we bring into our campus community.”
The so-called Tracy Rule, named for sexual assault survivor and advocate Brenda Tracy, could be a more popular tool for addressing concerns surrounding transferring student-athletes. The Tracy Rule, which is employed by the University of Texas-San Antonio and Slippery Rock University, institutes a zero-tolerance policy for student-athletes who have been reprimanded for sexual misconduct.