Hillary Hunter, Volume 50 Articles Editor
Volume 50, Book 2
With collegiate athletic teams across the country making headlines over sexual assaults incidents, the NCAA, universities, and elected officials look for ways to counteract this phenomenon. The legal system could provide a method to impede the prevalence of sexual crimes among college athletes by applying novel arguments to place additional responsibility on the individuals most closely related to the atmosphere of the athletic department–coaches and athletic department. Currently, coaches and other athletic officials are unlikely to be amenable to suit personally under Title IX because it applies specifically to federally funded institutions. Additionally, coaches are unlikely to be amenable under a common law tort claim as the doctrine of in loco parentis has essentially dissolved as applied to college students. There remains an alternative, however. With coaches influencing the behavior of their athletes and the atmosphere of their program immensely, instances of sexual assault by athletes present an interesting case for the Fifth Circuit to apply the state-created danger theory in this context. Courts, in applying such a theory, would open up college coaches to personal suit, thus incentivizing coaches to strive toward a higher level of decorum for their athletes and to protect the students of their university.