Indiana University has sanctioned a first-of-its-kind policy that will disqualify all athletes with a history of sexual or domestic violence from entering its highly regarded athletic programs. The policy, which was approved by the university’s Faculty Athletics Committee earlier this month, 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.”
In the school’s terms, sexual violence constitutes a wide range of crimes, including, “dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct.”
The policy will be enforced by the school’s Athletic Director, Fred Glass. “I think this will be an important policy to help protect members of the Indiana University community,” Glass told *IndyStar. *
The policy “is designed to protect all members of the Indiana University community” and notes that the school plans on conducting appropriate inquiries into every prospective student-athlete’s background.
What’s more, coaches are encouraged to speak with past teachers, coaches, administrators, teammates and family members. They will also “carefully consider” whether they recruit prospective student-athletes with serious or repetitive criminal charges as well as other concerning misconduct issues.
Glass wanted IU’s new policy to be similar to one recently implemented by the Southeastern Conference, which bans its schools from accepting transfer athletes who have committed sexual or domestic assault. But Glass’s policy extends even further than the SEC’s to include incoming freshmen.
In 2015, the school conducted a survey of sexual violence to discover that nearly 20 percent of women had experienced some kind of sexual assault on campus. Because an IU dean had been recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman, the school reviewed a number of sexual assault cases in February 2016.
Since then, IU has enforced more stringent action regarding its cases concerning athletes and sexual misconduct. The university had already dismissed freshman football player Kiante Enis in September based on an arrest regarding child molestation.
Glass adds that the policy does include an appellate process, understanding that somebody innocent may be caught caught in the policy’s crosshairs, but emphasizes that any such case will go before a committee. The institution’s policy of suspending athletes accused of a sexually violent crime from competition still stands.
“I think it’s new ground,” Glass said. “My hope is that we’re leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with, maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions.”