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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)
A new rule, adopted by the NCAA Board of Governors last week, requires campus leaders to report annually that their coaches, athletes and athletics administrators were educated in sexual violence prevention.
It also mandates campus officials declare that athletics departments are knowledgeable and compliant with institutional policies and processes regarding sexual violence prevention and that school policies are readily available in the athletics department and are distributed to student athletes.
The requirements, announced by the NCAA in a news release last week, reinforce the work some Tennessee colleges and universities already have in place, though one Division III school said this week it's still awaiting more information to see if it might need to make changes.
UT, Vanderbilt expect few changes
At the University of Tennessee, Title IX Coordinator Ashley Blamey said the new rule will not mean a lot of change as the university already has sexual violence prevention plans in place that include participation by the athletics department.
"Prevention efforts are laid out annually," Blamey said, although she added that prevention efforts are something the university is always reviewing and if "additional opportunities to improve" arise, the university would look at making changes.
Both student athletes and the general student population currently participate in prevention programming and trainings are also held in the athletics department, Blamey said.
Similarly, officials at Vanderbilt University, which is also Division I, said they support the new NCAA policy but did not mention any changes that will immediately arise.
Student athletes at Vanderbilt receive training related to sexual violence prevention in addition to an online course that all incoming students must complete and orientation activities for first-year students that address the topic, the university said in an emailed statement.
In addition, the athletics department receives training from the Title IX coordinator and the University Compliance Office. The Title IX Office conducts in-person training for all first-year students focused on the university's Sexual Misconduct and Intimate Partner Violence Policy and student athletes also attend a summer orientation that includes the same training, the statement said.
Smaller schools may see more effect
Kandis Schram, athletics director and head volleyball coach at Maryville College, said the athletics department at the Division III college is still waiting to find out more about what the requirements will be under the new rule.
Most student athletes completed educational programming related to sexual violence prevention last year and staff within the department also are educated on Title IX compliance and related policies that Maryville College has in place. However, there is nothing mandating sexual violence prevention training for all students and staff.
Schram said Monday that she had not heard yet from the NCAA with specifics as to how the new rule will play out at Division III colleges and universities.
"I don't think the actual programming will be more work," she said. "We're all committed to that. I think the reporting aspect and who gets it, that could be a little more difficult."
Latest step to stop sexual violence
Adopted last Tuesday, the new rule was recommended by the Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, which was created one year ago to examine issues of sexual violence and propose solutions for what athletic departments, conferences and the NCAA can do.
According to the release, it is the latest step the association has taken in addressing sexual violence prevention since 2010.
In 2014, the board, then known as the NCAA Executive Committee, passed a resolution laying out expectations for how athletics departments should properly respond to sexual violence accusations involving student athletes.
Weeks after the resolution passed, the NCAA released the handbook, "Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence: Athletics' Role in Support of Healthy and Safe Campuses," and followed it with the creation of a sexual violence prevention tool kit.
USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee staff writer Adam Tamburin contributed to this report.
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