Effective this fall, the Tracy Rule holds all UTSA student athletes accountable for their actions. The Tracy Rule form consists of seven yes or no questions regarding the athlete’s criminal history and convictions of Serious Misconduct (any act of rape, sexual assault, sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, incest, hate crimes, murder, manslaughter or any assault with the use of a deadly weapon or causes serious bodily injury).
UTSA is the first university in the nation to adopt this policy with sexual harassment survivor Brenda Tracy. While this rule sets an example for universities across the country, UTSA should take the requirement one step further and require background checks on every athlete to further ensure students’ safety on and off campus.
The Tracy Rule, the most comprehensive rule against sexual assault in the NCAA, is an significant step in the right direction. Although the rule places some responsibility on athletes to be honest about their criminal history, the Tracy Rule does not include a background check to determine whether the athletes were truthful on the form. Instead it relies on the integrity of the athletes completing the form. The absence of background checks allows athletes to lie on the form and continue to play at UTSA.
Student fees are substantial and should be able to cover the cost of background checks. Background checks are not an unreasonable measure to ensure players with violent pasts are not involved in UTSA athletics or the campus community. Sexual misconduct should never be tolerated, and athletes should be held accountable regardless of the cost.
The Tracy Rule emphasizes prioritizing students’ safety and holding violent offenders accountable for their actions. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated, and the Tracy Rule sets a precedent for the future of UTSA athletics. UTSA should conduct background checks on student athletes in conjunction with enforcing the Tracy Rule needs to be a mandatory addition because, sadly integrity is not enough.