The Indiana University athletic department has had a busy six months.
First, athletic director Fred Glass fired football coach Kevin Wilson in early December after repeated allegations of player abuse. Glass immediately promoted defensive coordinator Tom Allen to the position. Then, after a disastrous downward spiral for the men’s basketball team, Glass fired Tom Crean, replacing him with Archie Miller.
In the middle of all that, Glass was also apparently drafting a new policy that prevents athletes with history of sexual violence from participating for IU athletics.
That’s a big deal, especially because it seems like the real deal. Here are the details, via the Indy Star:
The policy bans “any prospective student-athlete — whether a transfer student, incoming freshman, or other status — who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence.” It further defines “sexual violence” as “dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct.”
Approved by the Indiana University-Bloomington Faculty Athletics Committee earlier this month, the policy is the brainchild of Athletic Director Fred Glass, and was written in consultation with a number of campus entities, including IU’s Office of Student Welfare and Title IX, and its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“I think this will be an important policy to help protect members of the Indiana University community,” Glass told IndyStar.
The school has come a long way from the days of Bob Knight telling Connie Chung this:
Asked by Connie Chung, the NBC News correspondent conducting the interview, how he handled stress, the Indiana men’s basketball coach said, ”I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
The plan also allows for an appeals process, which makes sense, but Indiana is seemingly serious about compartmentalizing that process, which is always the key:
It includes an appellate process, Glass said, acknowledging that “there’s always a chance that there’s going to be some person that gets caught up in this that shouldn’t, when you consider all the circumstances.”
But Glass also emphasized that any such appeal would go before a committee comprised of Zorn, IU general counsel Jacqueline Simmons and IU chief student welfare and Title IX officer Emily Springston.
“The key to that,” Glass said, “is those decisions are being made outside the athletic department.”
Kudos to Indiana for making this move, which should be one of common sense, all things considered. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with the many Baylor fiascoes, it’s been anything but common practice for schools to err on the side of protecting victims (and potential victims) of domestic and/or sexual violence.
Whether or not more schools follow Indiana’s example, though, remains to be seen.