A bad week for Missouri football specifically and the university in general is not getting any better as we head into the weekend.
In late January, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that Missouri did not investigate or contact police regarding an alleged sexual assault involving at least one football player and may have led to the suicide of a Tigers swimmer in 2011. Mizzou disputed the report, claiming that no university officials were unaware of the December of 2011 rape allegations until a year after Sasha Menu Courey committed suicide when, at the request of the family, it found an email exchange mentioning the alleged assault.
Around the time the Columbia Police Department opened an investigation into the alleged rape, the university announced it was launching an independent investigation into the school’s handling of the situation. The contents of that report were released Friday and, while the university’s actions — or inaction — was not found to be in violation of the law, it was concluded that Mizzou did “not act in accordance with what would be expected of a university with a robust Title IX compliance program.”
Title IX was a theme woven extensively throughout the report, which took the university to task for having a lackluster equity program. For those who would like to read the complete report, click HERE. For those searching for a synopsis, here’s the Columbia Tribune‘s detailing of what was contained in the report:
The counsel’s report highlights four conclusions: the university failed to have Title IX policies in place for its employees, contrary to the Department of Education’s guidance on Title IX; the university should have acted on the information it had in November 2012 about Menu Courey’s rape allegations; a Tribune article published in February 2012 indicating a diary mention from Menu Courey related to a sexual assault should have been provided to the Title IX coordinator; and finally, that there is no definitive conclusion that university employees were aware of Menu Courey’s assault while she was alive, aside from medical personnel.
Neither the Title IX coordinator nor the university police department of the alleged rape even as the university, the report stated, was in possession of at least two documents containing Menu Courey’s allegations of a sexual assault/rape. When document was an email transcript of Menu Courey’s conversation with a National Sexual Assault Hotline employee in which she identified her assailants as two unnamed football players. The names of the football players who may have been involved in the alleged assault have not been released, at least publicly.
The second document, the Tribune wrote, “was a questionnaire that indicated Menu Courey responded to a question about whether she had suffered a traumatic event by saying she was ‘raped by an acquaintance February 2010.’”
“We probably dropped the ball,” a university official told investigators, by way of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, regarding the lack of a clear reporting policy according to the report. Despite the apparent mishandling of the situation, it doesn’t appear, at this point in time, that the feds have gotten involved:
While the federal government is not a part of the equation, the local media is and is beginning to bang a drum no university or athletic department wants to hear. “String of incidents at Missouri puts athletic culture on trial,” was the headline in the Kansas City Star Friday morning, with the stern rebuke written by Sam Mellinger concluding with “[i]t’s just that based on the last few months, each side has lost the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to “tough love, guidance and motivation” for troubled players like Dorian Green-Beckham.
And not to pick on Green-Beckham; six of the wide receiver’s football teammates and eight men’s basketball players have been arrested since January. By all appearances and by just about any measure, there are issues surrounding the athletic culture at Mizzou that need to be addressed by the grownups in the building sooner rather than later before things really get out of control.