Starting in March, Outside the Lines made official public records requests to all 53 public Power 5 schools for data on Title IX complaints against all students and student-athletes from 2012 to 2017. Outside the Lines also requested data from the 12 private Power 5 schools that are not subject to open records laws. The requested Title IX reports covered allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion, stalking or retaliation. Below are the results of those requests.
Using the data to make school-to-school comparisons about which have the highest percentage of complaints or the highest number of complaints involving accused athletes should be done with caution because school officials did not always provide the exact data Outside the Lines requested. For example, one school might have insisted upon providing every complaint that had been filed with a Title IX office while another school might have insisted upon providing data only about cases that ended up in formal investigations. It is possible to determine an overall comparison of athletes to other students because, within each school, the data for athletes and students were subject to the same parameters. Outside the Lines consulted with two statisticians about its study methods.
For the tables below, depending on how each school keeps records, the year is indicative of the calendar year or the start of an academic year. When a school that goes by calendar year provided partial-year information for 2018, those numbers are included in the footnotes. More details of schools' data can be found in the notes under each table.
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Outside the Lines also distributed an online survey to Title IX administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities. See the results of the survey here.
† Louisville's data also include deliberate incapacitation, indecent exposure and sexual harassment. NC State included reports only for which there was enough evidence to charge a student with a violation related to sexual misconduct; two out of 10 athletes were found responsible, and 34 out of 59 nonathlete students were found responsible. NC State declined to provide a year-by-year breakdown, citing concerns for student privacy.
‡ Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia officials said they did not have existing reports showing the data and declined to pull the records to provide numbers. Virginia Tech provided data only for 2012 through 2015 and declined to provide numbers of complaints against athletes citing the lack of an existing record with that information and concerns over student privacy. The school's data on students include reports of sexual assault, exploitation, harassment, intimate partner violence and stalking.
§ Boston College, Duke, Miami, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Wake Forest are private schools not subject to open records laws and did not provide relevant information upon request. Pittsburgh, although a public school, is not subject to most state open records laws and declined to provide data.
Big Ten notes
† Indiana provided data for only three years; officials said they were not able to pull data for earlier years, and the 2017-2018 report was not yet available. Indiana provided the available year data in aggregate citing a concern for student privacy. Three of the six athletes were found responsible for violations. The data include claims of sexual assault and dating violence. Maryland did not have data available for the first two years. Michigan's data might have also included reports of intimate partner violence (dating or domestic violence) in 2013 through 2016 as "other," or may not have been reported to the office that handles Title IX complaints at all. Because Michigan does not separate out sexual exploitation specifically, it included the category of sexual harassment for which those type of cases, among others, would be included. Michigan State officials said the university has not pulled or tallied all complaints against athletes prior to 2016-2017. Although Michigan State has pulled at least some records of athlete cases from earlier years, it would not provide those records or say how many there were. The total listed above for student complaints is only for the years for which there are comparable data for athlete complaints. Michigan State did provide data on student complaints back to 2012, and the total for all years was 778.
Ohio State officials said that athlete status is indicative of someone who was an athlete during the calendar year in which he/she was named a respondent, which could have come after the conclusion of that student's athletic eligibility, and data for complaints against athletes also include members of the school's cheer and dance teams. Penn State's numbers reflect only cases in which a student was found responsible for sexual misconduct code violations. Penn State, although a public school, is not subject to open records laws and provided only aggregate totals instead of year-by-year figures, citing a concern for student privacy. Rutgers provided a report covering the number of accused students in Title IX complaints from fall 2015 through fall 2017; the school did not provide additional information or records on athlete or student-only cases for prior years, stating it would involve too much work to pull the records.
‡ Minnesota's data include all cases of sexual misconduct; officials said they did not have a report showing the number of complaints against athletes and said they had no way of going through existing records to determine the status of the respondent. Nebraska was the only school to acknowledge having an existing report showing the number of respondents who are athletes (since 2015) and refused to release it; officials said the university does not have information on how many complaints were made against student respondents, separate from those made against faculty, staff or others. Purdue officials said they were unable to provide records pertaining to athletes and provided a graphic showing total complaints against students for the past few years, but the bar charts did not list actual numbers. Wisconsin did not have data on the number of athlete respondents and declined to pull the records to identify such complaints. Figures include all investigations of sexual assault complaints made against students from 2012 through 2017. Domestic violence and dating violence numbers are included only for the past two years because they previously were not tracked in a way that could be easily counted. Numbers do not include sexual exploitation or coercion.
§ Northwestern is a private school not subject to open records laws and did not provide relevant information upon request.
Big 12 notes
† Baylor was the only private school to provide data on the number of athlete respondents. Baylor's numbers are limited to Title IX cases that were also counted under the Clery Act, which includes only those cases reported on/near campus or associated with locations of school-sponsored activities; the data do not include incidents reported in off-campus residences. Baylor did not have figures for years before 2015, as the school was still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. Kansas State did not have complete student data for 2012-2013, although it noted that there were no athlete respondents in that year. Oklahoma's data include cases of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, stalking and sexual exploitation; the school also provided 2018 calendar-year data as of Sept. 11, which shows two complaints against athletes out of 57 total complaints against students; those data are not included in the table above.
Texas provided a total number of complaints against athletes for the six years as well as an indication of whether the total number for each year was one to four complaints or five or more complaints; no single semester had more than four complaints against athletes. The school reported its figures this way citing concerns for student privacy. Texas Tech also provided data for 2018 as of March, which included 60 total complaints against students, of which one was against an athlete; those data are not reflected in the table above. West Virginia provided data for 2018 as of April, which included four complaints against students, of which two were against athletes; those data are not reflected in the table above.
‡ Iowa State did not have, and would not research to provide, records or data showing the number of complaints against athletes or other students; the school did provide numbers that showed complaints against all types of respondents -- students, nonstudents, faculty, staff, etc., but it is not shown here because it was not comparable with data provided by other schools. Kansas did not have, and declined to research, records or data indicating the number of reports against athletes; the school provided the number of reports against students alleging possible violations of the school's sexual harassment policy, which includes reports of sexual assault and sexual violence, among other violations. In 2016, the school distinguished reports from complaints, noting that complaints were reports that had been opened for investigation. There were 20 complaints in 2016 and 18 complaints in 2017, which are included in the totals presented in data.
§ TCU is a private school not subject to open records laws and did not provide relevant information upon request.
† Arizona State officials said they did not have comparable data for 2012-2013 or 2013-2014 because of changes in how cases were tracked, but said there were no athlete respondent cases in 2012-2013 and one report for relationship violence in 2013-2014. The school's data include instances in which students and athletes were charged with misconduct related to relationship violence or sexual violence/nonconsensual sexual contact. Cal officials also reported 45 complaints against students and no complaints against athletes for 2018 as of Aug. 31; those data are not reflected in the table above. The school's data included sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. Colorado's data included sexual assault, nonconsensual sexual contact and nonconsensual sexual intercourse and intimate partner abuse (domestic and dating violence). The school's data is for January 2012 through June 2018; the school shifted to the academic year from the calendar year in 2014. There were formal investigations in 12 athlete cases and 177 nonathlete student cases, of which there were policy violations found in eight and 127 cases, respectively. Colorado said most other cases (largely pertaining to sexual assault) ended in informal resolutions, referrals to another office or a determination that there was no basis to proceed.
The total of all students in Oregon's data above represent the total for the past three years for which there is comparable athlete data. The total for complaints involving student respondents for all years is 213; that includes sex-based stalking, social media harassment, unwanted contact, unwanted touching, domestic/dating violence and sexual assault. Oregon officials noted that a respondent could be named in more than one complaint. Oregon State's data are for complaints that resulted in a formal investigation, and data were not available for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. The school's complaint terms changed in 2017-2018 to specify sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, and nonconsensual sexual contact or sexual activity and/or intercourse. Terms previously covered sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and intimate partner violence. Utah also reported three complaints for 2018 as of March 8, 2018; those data are not reflected in the table above. Utah reported a total of three complaints against athletes over the six years as an aggregate, citing student privacy concerns. Washington State said there were 19 reports involving student respondents and two reports involving athlete respondents through March 8, 2018; those data are not reflected in the table above.
‡ Arizona did not have and declined to research the number of reports against athletes; the school's data include only reports of sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment, in which a student was charged with an offense. Of these, 46 were found responsible for a violation. UCLA said it had no existing record showing the number of complaints against athletes or against students overall and declined to pull the records to provide numbers. By the deadline for this story, Washington was unable to provide data regarding complaints against athletes and had only partial data on complaints against students. The school provided a record showing at least some individual cases in 2016 and 2017, but the formatting of the record made it an unreliable source from which to discern a number, and school officials did not respond to requests for clarity.
§ Stanford and USC are private schools not subject to open records laws and did not provide relevant information upon request.
† LSU said data for total complaints against students are not available for 2012-2013, 2013-2014 or 2014-2015. For comparison's sake, ESPN calculated the percentage of complaints against athletes by using the 11 complaints from the years in which there are comparable student respondent data. South Carolina officials provided the total number of complaints against students and athletes; a complaint occurs when a student wants to move forward with an incident. South Carolina also provided a total number of reports against athletes, noting that not all reports end up resulting in complaints. For 2012-2017, there were 22 reports against athletes. For the sake of comparison, data on complaints was used to calculate the percentage. Tennessee presented yearly data on athletes as "fewer than five" out of a concern for student privacy, but provided the total for the years in question. Data in 2012-2013 cover reports of nonconsensual sexual penetration and/or contact only; for the other years, data were provided on nonconsensual sexual penetration and/or contact, relationship violence and stalking. From 2012 to 2017, there were fewer than five cases of reported retaliation, which are included in the table above. Each alleged violation was counted as one report, so there could be more than one report per respondent. As of summer 2018, Texas A&M also had one additional report against an athlete and a total of 36 against students; those data are not included in the table above.
‡ Officials from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Missouri said they have no existing reports showing the total number of complaints against athletes or students overall and declined to pull records to provide numbers. Auburn reported nine complaints against students for calendar year 2018 as of Sept. 10; those data are not reflected in the table. The school's officials said they do not have a report showing how many complaints involved athlete respondents and declined to pull records to determine the number. Georgia's data are for student sexual misconduct complaints; the school also reported 18 complaints for calendar year 2018 as of Sept. 11; those data are not reflected in the table above. Georgia officials said they have no existing reports showing the total number of complaints against athletes and declined to pull records to provide numbers. Kentucky provided data identifying the total number of student respondents for calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017 and said they have no existing reports showing the total number of complaints against athletes and declined to pull records to provide numbers.
§ Vanderbilt is a private school not subject to open records laws and did not provide relevant information upon request.
Below are the schools, listed alphabetically, that provided data on the number of Title IX complaints filed against athletes. A "-" indicates data was not provided, and a "*" indicates data was provided for a year but not specified. Depending on how each school keeps records, the year is indicative of the calendar year or the start of an academic year.
Baylor, Cal, Florida, Louisville, NC State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Utah, Washington State and West Virginia provided data for the calendar year, while Arizona State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Rutgers, South Carolina and Tennessee provided data for the academic year. Colorado's data is for January 2012 through June 2018; the school shifted to the academic year from the calendar year in 2014.
Outside the Lines distributed a link to an online survey to Title IX administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities. There were 99 survey respondents. Of those, 22 percent were from Division I schools, 23 percent from Division II, 37 percent from Division III and 17 percent from other types of schools. About 36 percent of the schools were public and 64 percent were private.
Do you feel as though you have enough staff in your office?
Yes: 25 percent
No: 75 percent
Do you feel that your office is able to operate independently in investigations, whether the accused is a regular student, athlete or son/daughter of a big donor?
Yes: 79 percent
No: 11 percent
It depends: 10 percent
At the time you receive a complaint involving an athlete respondent [the person accused of wrongdoing], what notice is given to the athletic department?
None: 34 percent
There is formal protocol to notify someone in athletics: 19 percent
There is no formal protocol, but it's is informal practice to notify someone: 38 percent
Not applicable: 9 percent
How would you describe the involvement of athletics department personnel in Title IX complaint investigations?
No involvement: 19 percent
Supportive or helpful: 59 percent
Intrusive or obstructionist: 4 percent
Other: 17 percent
How do you feel about the Title IX training provided to athletes at your university?
Extremely or very effective: 41 percent
Somewhat effective: 53 percent
Not effective or not effective at all: 6 percent
Do you detect any trends involving cases in which there is an athlete respondent?
Yes: 20 percent
No: 80 percent
Comments from the survey:
"For the past 5 years, in all cases the respondent has been an athlete."
"Sometimes [athletes] have an entitled attitude."
"Hazing type reports, for the more popular teams, rumors of their 'prowess' or ability to never be told no."
"A large portion of our cases on a small campus are involving athletes."
"Dating violence seems more prevalent with athletes."
"We've had an increase [of] Title IX cases involving athletes, as Complainants and Respondents. Primarily I've seen an increase in football respondents, despite a major increase in education with that same sub-group."
"Not any different from the rest of the student body."
"At least half of the complaints that come through our Title IX office involve athletes or coaches."
"Coaches or Athletics Department want to be more involved depending on the level of talent the athlete has for their team or if the coach has a winning background. Some universities place winning first but claim to care. Recent example is Ohio State."
"Respondent's teammates frequently apply subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, pressure on the Complainant and/or the Complainant's friends with the intent to have the Complainant withdraw their complaint. The subtle behavior is often social ostracization."
Professor Vicki Michaelis and journalism students Wilson Alexander, Brittney Butler, John Durham, Jed May, Connor Richter, Kelsey Russo, Mason Wittner at the University of Georgia assisted Outside the Lines in requesting records for this story. ESPN consulted with Analysis & Inference Inc.'s senior statistician and president William Fairley and senior statistician William Huber on the methodology used in the analysis of the Outside the Lines data.