College Sports

This Texas college is nation’s first to implement Tracy Rule to prevent sexual assault

UTSA head coach Frank Wilson, right, talks to players, from left to right, Josh Dunlop Kevin Davis and Spencer Burford during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Army, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
UTSA head coach Frank Wilson, right, talks to players, from left to right, Josh Dunlop Kevin Davis and Spencer Burford during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Army, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) AP

Zero tolerance on college campuses just got a shot of adrenaline in San Antonio.

UT San Antonio announced what it’s calling a “groundbreaking partnership” it hopes strengthens its zero-tolerance policy on sexual assault.

Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor and founder of the national campaign and nonprofit SetTheExpectation, helped UTSA implement the Tracy Rule, which the school calls the “most comprehensive serious misconduct rule in the NCAA.

The UTSA Tracy Rule, which is now in effect, attaches student-athlete eligibility to behavior.

The UTSA Tracy Rule ensures that current or prospective student-athletes won’t be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, and can’t practice or compete at UTSA if any of the below has occurred:

Been convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor involving Serious Misconduct

Been found a delinquent in relationship to a juvenile code equivalent

Been disciplined by the university or athletic department at any time during enrollment at any collegiate institution (excluding temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) due to Serious Misconduct

Tracy has visited UTSA multiple times to discuss sexual assault and misconduct prevention and has spoken with the UTSA athletics staff and student-athletes, Greek Life members and school faculty and staff.

“By implementing the UTSA Tracy Rule, we are letting current and prospective student-athletes know that UTSA is a community where conduct off the field is just as important as conduct on the field,” said UTSA vice president Lisa Campos. “This is an impactful milestone for intercollegiate athletics, and we are honored to be the first to collaborate with Brenda in this way to stand up to sexual assault and misconduct.”

Tracy was raped by four men (including three Oregon State football players) while an OSU student in 1998. She has traveled the country since 2016 to share her story. She has talked to 80 football teams and other groups to encourage people to speak out against sexual assault and physical violence.

UTSA student-athletes, coaches and staff signed Tracy’s SetTheExpectation pledge at the start of this semester. Future UTSA athletes will also be required to sign the pledge.

“I’m very proud of UTSA Athletics and the campus community for making student safety a priority and standing as a national leader on issues that affect every college campus in the country,” Tracy said in a UTSA release. “Preventing campus sexual assault, relationship violence and Serious Misconduct, as defined in the Tracy Rule, requires a collaborative effort and by implementing this rule, UTSA has made a permanent and meaningful commitment to prevent violence in its community.”

Tracy hopes other schools will follow the UTSA example.

“And make student safety, accountability and transparency a priority, not just through their words but in policy reform, as UTSA has done,” she said.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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