McCaskill Urges End to Era of 'Protecting Athletes'

June 18, 2015

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told a group of college athletics officials Wednesday that while she appreciated the progress they had made in combating sexual assault, college athletes are still too often protected "from the consequences of their behavior," USA Today reported. In a speech at the annual conference of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the Missouri Democrat credited sports officials with taking some steps to crack down on athletes' sexual misconduct, like a new Southeastern Conference rule that bars an athlete from transferring to a league member if he or she has been punished for sexual assault or domestic violence.

But McCaskill, who has led the Congressional push to hold colleges more accountable for stopping sexual violence on their campuses, said more needed to be done to end the long history of athletes getting protection from their athletics departments. "They rely on the failure of the criminal justice system, which allows them the luxury of looking the other way," she said. "An athletic director should not see themselves as a shield to the student-athlete. Indeed, the mandate you have when you join your university is an obligation to protect other students and the campus at large."

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