University of Virginia’s College at Wise has now become the second school in the nation, joining the University of Texas at San Antonio, to adopt the Tracey Rule, which requires thorough background checks for athletes. The Tracey Rule bans those found responsible in a Title IX or other disciplinary hearing, or court proceeding for sexual or violent offenses from playing on varsity sports teams.
Importantly, this rule goes well beyond banning student-athletes who have been convicted in a court of law for sexual or violent crimes. Under the Tracey Rule, a student-athlete can lose complete eligibility, thus ending their athletic career, if they are found responsible for sexual misconduct concluding a Title IX or other university disciplinary hearing. These hearings have been largely criticized as unfair and biased in favor of accusers. In 2020, the Department of Education, issued Title IX regulations, which helped to establish a process that was more fair to both Complainants and Respondents in determining whether the accused was in violation of school policies. These regulations became enforceable law as of August 14, 2020. More on these regulations can be found at our blog by clicking here.
However, President Biden’s Department of Education has recently released a proposed rule, which aims to roll back many of the due process rights established by the 2020 regulations. The new proposal would remove the requirement for live cross-examination and would again allow schools to implement a single-investigator model, which can remove a hearing altogether. More on this proposed rule can be found at our blog by clicking here.
Should these new regulations become enforceable law, and due process rights for the accused be drastically reduced, accused student-athletes will now be at higher risk of being found responsible for allegations of misconduct. It is anticipated that University of Virginia’s College at Wise will not be the final school to adopt the Tracey Rule. As more schools adopt the Tracey Rule, these Title IX and other disciplinary proceedings will become even more polarizing and pivotal to a young athlete’s career. As such, having a well-trained and knowledgeable advisor will be of utmost importance.
At Friedman & Nemecek, LLC, our Title IX attorneys have years of experience securing the rights of student-athletes and reaching favorable results at the school level. Our Title IX attorneys have represented student-athletes at all levels, from high school to Division I. If you have questions regarding a student-athlete’s rights in Title IX proceedings, or you have been subjected to or accused of, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, dating violence, or sexual harassment on campus, please call Friedman & Nemecek, L.L.C., in Cleveland, Ohio at 216-928-7700 for a free initial consultation.