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Penn State, Syracuse cases put other schools on guard
New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland are among the other states where lawmakers are considering toughening their reporting standards.
Both Burness and Terry Hartle, senior vice-president at the American Council on Education, compared reaction to these scandals to what happened after the massacre at Virginia Tech, when schools went back and analyzed their preparedness for a major emergency.
“I do not see a crisis coming up,” Hartle said. “I do think this will be an experience that will force all colleges and universities to reevaluate their policies and procedures with reporting and dealing with sexual misconduct.”
A handful of athletic directors interviewed by The Associated Press said they have brought up the subject with their departments.
In his regular Sunday evening email to athletes, coaches and staff, Minnesota AD Joel Maturi asked everyone to pray for the victims but also reminded them of their responsibility to report any illegal, abusive or improper behavior they become aware of.
At Kentucky, spokesman DeWayne Peevy said: “We take a long look at everything as a staff, re-evaluate what we’re doing.”
“Some things you can’t necessarily prevent, but you do everything you can to make sure there are no red flags and nothing shows up unexpectedly,” Peevy said.
Same message at Utah, where athletic director Chris Hill reminded employees it’s their responsibility to report any potential crime to the police. At Arizona, athletic director Greg Byrne’s letter to staff included this straightforward advice: “The message is simple — call the police — call 911 — if you witness criminal activity or if you believe you or anyone else is in danger.” Wake Forest is holding its annual administrative retreat soon, and the topic of how it might handle such a problem is expected to come up.
Although running background checks on employees is standard procedure at almost every university, Burness said the news of the past weeks likely will send athletic directors back to the personnel files.
“That’s a proper step for an institution to take,” he said. “If you’re aware of prior cases, you should probably brush up on what happened, what was found, what wasn’t found and who the incident was reported to.”
AP Education Writer Justin Pope and AP Sports Writers Jim O’Connell in New York, Bob Baum in Phoenix, Lynn DeBruin in Salt Lake City, Colin Fly in Louisville, Ky., Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, Stephen Hawkins in Dallas, Joedy McCreary and Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C., Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Nick Geranios in Spokane, Wash., contributed to this report.
By John R. Bolton
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