Title IX and Discrimination: What You Need To Know

Title IX and Discrimination

Michigan State University continues to be under scrutiny this year following the arrest of MSU sports medicine, Dr. Larry Nassar. He has been charged with criminal sexual assault and has had many gymnasts.

Former gymnasts are adding their voice to a growing number of plaintiffs in a civil suit against him for sexual assault. Many of those cases are too old to be prosecuted as criminal assault.

In addition, a total of fifteen MSU football players have been suspended. Three of them are involved in a sexual assault investigation that started in January.

Ten of the players were missing from the game but were on the field. This likely meant they were injured in MSU’s opening spring game on April 1st.

Although the identities of the players charged with criminal activities have not been revealed, they have been removed from campus. MSU, however, is left to accept investigations into its athletic department as a result of all this criminal sexual misconduct.

Title IX investigation

One facet of the investigation will be a Title IX investigation. What is Title IX and why is it relevant in this case?

The term Title IX (nine) refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments to the constitution. It was signed into law in 1972. It is a law that “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.”

The goal of Title IX is to prevent a school – like MSU for instance – from using federal money to “support sex discrimination” in its programs or classes.

Let’s say MSU accepted federal money to support its activities, which it does. Let’s also say that MSU offered sports programs for its male population – football, soccer, baseball, etc. – that gave students a chance to further their careers or obtain an education through scholarship money.

Additionally, let’s also say that MSU did not offer any sports programs for its female students. That would be a direct violation of Title IX, and MSU would be subject to fines or a loss of its federal funding.

What may actually be happening could be worse for MSU. Or, at least, it’s why a Title IX investigation is being held.

If Dr. Larry Nassar – who was employed by MSU, which accepts federal funding, used his position as a way to sexually assault women under his care, and MSU knew about it but didn’t fire him and turn him into the police, that would be a Title IX violation.

It’s the same for the three football players who have been suspended, but especially if football staffer Curtis Blackwell (who has been suspended with pay for unknown reasons). If he knew something and didn’t do anything about it, that would also be a violation of Title IX.

Take Away

Unfortunately, there may always be sexual assault allegations and charges surrounding football players or men in power. Hopefully in those cases, victims will speak up sooner and those in charge will be ready to listen and respond.

Title IX is designed to prevent a systematic discrimination based on sex, but specifically at any school receiving federal funding.

Let’s hope any changes that need to be made at MSU will be made to prevent things like this from happening again.