The captain of their football team is one of the players who was implicated for rape at in the Steubenville scandal, but was not reported as being part of the incident. The coach of this team is also the Hocking College police chief which would mean he could have access to case files, reports and other information, sounds like more than a conflict of interest. The case has been referred to the local prosecutor but rumors swirl about the coach and administration at the school trying to get the victim to recant.
According to reports, HR Director/Risk Coordinator/Attorney confirmed in a public meeting that Coach/Officer Matthews has also canceled 3 Title IX training sessions, which would teach him and his players specific training in sexual harassment and possibly have prevented this attack. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the culture at the school based on this information. Trainings are significant. Are they the cure all? No. No one can expect to listen to an hour talk and cure the problem. However, the message sent from administrators who schedule and implement trainings is, "This is important to us, you better listen."
Here is another issue of culture where the norm is of women as rewards. A culture of selfish, instant gratification. The most disciplined of students - athletes - showing that discipline only goes so far. Or does it? If it were strictly a matter of discipline, then it is easily corrected. If it's a matter of culture, this has nothing to do with discipline, but has everything to do with a culture that permits it - even encourages it. To be sure, every team is going to have players whose character is more than suspect. Those teams must deal swiftly with that player through psychological interventions. But to have a team where the leader is someone who was at the forefront of a national high school rape scandal, that signals an entirely different, much more disturbing issue. Leadership is about character, integrity, courage and selflessness. Doubtful those attributes are embodied in their leadership choice. That should have been the first red flag - especially for a police chief of a college campus.
Another red flag not often talked about in these cases - porn use. Where do you think athletes might get a thought to gang rape someone? Bonding and team unity is the crux of a team. Hard core porn is available on the internet to young kids. This may be their first view of relationships, sex and even treatment of women. And the women in porn are demeaned and many times it pictures many men with one woman calling her horrible things and using belittling language just to get viewers aroused. It's fantasy, its addictive, it's dangerous and it is used often at high school parties and watched in groups in college. Gang rapes are most often the method of sexual assault by athletes in the work I have done. It's male bonding, team bonding and group sex is now common.
On the flip side, we saw some movement towards responsibility, not just by athletic departments but also by fans. Fans have so much power and they are now waking up to the fact that they can wield it - and should - when it comes to the team representing them and their school. Rutgers University dismissed five football players after a burglary and assault report. The fans who were interviewed not only supported the move, but questioned the ability and conflict of coaches who need to recruit players who can win, while ensuring the character of the players they bring in.
Fans have not always been quick to make that connection and have been, instead, defensive of accused players. Now, when a school acts swiftly, fans are there in full support of the action. That was unusual only a few short years ago. Schools need to know that the fan base will respectfully honor the school who chooses to have quality character players and develop them into quality character men.
Now that two powerful conferences have adopted a No Transfer Rule, meaning players with serious allegations of misconduct could not transfer to the Big 12 or the SEC, problem players could have limited options for pursuing their athletic career.
So, props to Rutgers for taking swift action on game day, nonetheless. Hocking College, you have work to do.