With the spotlight recently on the cesspool at Baylor, and how the university, football coach, the entire football program and school administration fostered an environment that promoted rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, the larger discussion of criminality within college athletic programs is now front and center.
In response, Indiana University and its athletic department have implemented a new policy that bans any athletes with history of sexual or domestic violence from participation in any of their athletic programs, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“I think it’s new ground,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass told the Star. “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.”
The time has come to clean up the mess, and I applaud the Hoosiers for trying to get out in front of what is a pervasive problem on the athletic landscape.
But sports programs are only a part of the equation as it relates to sexual violence on campus. If Indiana wants to break new ground here, the policy needs to apply to every student on campus.
Football and basketball players make all the headlines, but Greek life in college has a pervasive problem with nurturing a culture of rape and violence against women.
Yes, rape culture extends far beyond the well-manicured quads of campus life, but it is particularly deleterious when it comes to frat life. In a 2007 study, researchers John Foubert, Jerry Tatum, and J.T. Newberry found that members of fraternities are three times as likely to commit rape than other men on college campuses.
In an op-ed piece for CNN, Foubert wrote, "Our study confirmed that fraternities provide the culture of male peer support for violence against women that permits bad attitudes to become treacherous behavior. And that should concern everyone."
He goes on to say, "There are a lot of us across the country who have worked for decades trying to prevent rape on college campuses. Many experience high levels of frustration at the lack of commitment on the part of colleges and universities to face the issue."
Other studies have found that women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women, and that one in five women will be sexually assaulted in four years away at school.
Now let's also factor in the phenomenon known as "The Fraternity Pipeline", where members are given access privilege and jobs, where alumni elevate some resumes to the tops of piles, where they reveal interview questions with recommended answers, and where this type of entitlement among enablers continues to inform their behavior within the corporate realm as well.
If universities want to get serious about addressing their cultures of rape and sexual assault, the athletic department is a mere piece of the puzzle.
Because if you're not going to admit or expel a football player for his heinous acts, that same philosophy needs to apply for Steve the accounting major, along with those Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers and other frat members on campus who live within a sick, twisted culture where it's considered cool to lure some rape bait.