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Indiana University Is Banning Athletes with a Criminal History of Sexual or Domestic Assault

The school's new policy will apply to prospective freshmen, current students, or transfer applicants who have been convicted of or plead guilty to a felony sexual assault charge.

Prospective student athletes at Indiana University Bloomington (IU) who have a history of sexual or domestic violence won't be allowed to participate in any of the school's top-notch sports programs, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Under a policy approved earlier this month, the university will bar any student from its athletic programs who "has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence." That covers anyone from prospective freshmen to transfer applicants to current students. Additionally, the university's definition of "sexual violence" includes domestic violence as well.

In 2015, the school conducted a survey of sexual violence on campus and found that 17 percent of women who responded indicated they'd experienced some kind of sexual assault. In February 2016, the school decided to review 18 sexual assault cases after one of its deans—who oversaw the cases—was accused of assaulting a woman himself. And in September, IU dismissed a freshman from its football team after he was charged for child molestation.

Many schools at the top echelons of college athletics—Baylor and Oregon among them—have found themselves grappling with how to handle transfer students who have prior criminal histories. IU's athletic director, Fred Glass, said he pushed for a policy that was similar to a rule recently implemented by the SEC, which bans its schools from accepting transfer athletes who have committed sexual or domestic assault.

"I think it's new ground," Glass told the Star. "My hope is that we're leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with, maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions."

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