Oregon State President Seeks Pac 12 Ban of Transfers With Conduct Issues

The high profile sexual assault case of an attempted gang rape of a woman at the hands of Oregon State University football team members led to heightened scrutiny over transfers of athletes with a history of misconduct issues. The survivor of the sex assault, Brenda Tracy, petitioned the Oregon State president in early September this year to revise their existing transfer policies involving athletes in lieu of their criminal history records. Tracy was the survivor of a 1998 gang-rape case at the hands of four college football athletes.

“We need to stop transferring around student-athletes with serious criminal issues,” Tracy said. “Athleticism shouldn’t trump safety. If you’re recruiting an athlete, why aren’t you looking at criminal history?”

Oregon state president, Dr. Ed Ray, has confirmed his support for re-examining the transfer policies between the Pac 12 universities presidents. Ray said, “There ought to be a way to set guidelines that approach what seems intuitively right and sensible.”

Tracy’s petition was met with an outpouring of support from Arizona, Oregon, and California states as well as the SEC (Southeastern Conference) presidents, who last year introduced a new rule that would increase the transparency of examining players with a history of domestic violence, sex assaults, and any other kind of sexual violence. The rule was passed by Georgia State and unequivocally banned any player who has been “subject to official university or athletics department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any previous collegiate institution due to serious misconduct” when being considered for a transfer to a SEC school.

Upon receiving the overwhelming support, Tracy said, “Everybody is going to have this rule. We don’t want the Pac 12 to turn into a dumping ground for transfers with issues. There are plenty of kids who are great athletes without conduct issues.”

Larry Scott, the Pac 12 commissioner, during the Utah-Oregon game at the Autzen Stadium pointed out, “We don’t have a conference position on it. The purpose of Ed raising it will be to put it on the agenda … every major policy we have is set by the presidents. I don’t set our policies in terms of the issues like the ones we’re talking about.”

He further rejected the notion of Pac 12 becoming a dumping ground for the SEC. “We don’t take transfers from the SEC,” exclaimed Scott. Whereas Dr. Ray highlighted that although systemizing the rule of banning players who have a history of misconduct cases is not exactly straightforward, it does show signs of being workable. He suggested, “Perhaps we can require disclosure of criminal backgrounds for all transfer students who receive scholarships whether for athletics or something else. I will keep working on this.”

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