College coaches are getting behind advocate Brenda Tracy’s program to end sexual and domestic violence in sports.
Tracy, a sexual assault survivor, has started #SetTheExpectation, a pledge that high school and college coaches and players can sign, stating that they understand that “rape, sexual assault, physical violence, domestic/dating violence, stalking, bullying, hazing, and taking or sharing photos and videos of a sexually explicit/violent nature is NEVER okay and will not be tolerated.”
A number of high profile college coaches, including Jim Harbaugh, head football coach for the University of Michigan, and David Shaw, head football coach at Standford, among others, have recorded video statements backing Tracy’s campaign, which she has posted to her Twitter account.
The coaches’ statements urge their peers to step up and “set the expectation” that physical and sexual abuse are never acceptable.
Tracy was violently raped by four football players at Oregon State, but only two of the offending players were ever reprimanded after Tracy dropped her case. Only Calvin Carlyle and Jason Dandridge received one-game suspensions. Then-Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley defended the men at the time, telling the Eugene Register-Guard that, “These are very good guys who made bad choices.”
In 2014, Tracy confronted Riley at the University of Nebraska, where he was serving as head football coach. Riley apologized and invited Tracy to speak to his team about what happened back in 1998, opening a dialogue that would set Tracy on her current mission.
Tracy continues to advocate for educating student-athletes about physical and sexual assault, speaking at colleges and high schools across the country. More information about Tracy’s #SetTheExpectation pledge can be found on her website.