Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Sport Studies

Major Professor

James Bemiller

Committee Members

Lars Dzikus, Robin Hardin

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how universities are being exposed to Title IX liability due to increasing sexual assault and sexual harassment accusations of student-athletes. This thesis examined recorded case law with regard to student-athlete sexual misconduct as well as compared law reviews and academic journal findings to determine the extent of which a university is responsible for such misconduct in an effort to propose recommendations to assist administrators in understanding and managing these liability issues. Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly entangled in sexual harassment lawsuits and settlements involving student-athletes. These incidents are costly both monetarily, and in damage to the reputation and integrity of the school and its athletic program (Duffy & Osborne, 2005). Studentathletes’ help universities generate millions of dollars annually toward athletic departments, provide national marketing opportunities, as well as provide entertainment for their communities, alumni and fans nationwide (Harrison & Moye, 2006). This trend of incidents of harassment has fostered a growing concern as to whether or not a university should be held responsible for the behavioral misconduct of their student - athletes. Athletic departments and their administrators are under increased scrutiny with regard to student-athlete behavior, specifically sexual harassment and sexual assault. Previous research has indicated that male athletes make up roughly two percent of a campus’ population and are named in 23% of sexual assault cases (Duffy & Osborne, 2005).

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