For those who thought the sexual assault case against Jameis Winston wrapped up too quick it turns out they were right. Winston and FSU may be in trouble.
Last season was like a dream for Florida State fans. Not only did their team ascend to college football glory by winning the final BCS Championship, but their star redshirt freshman quarterback won the Heisman trophy. For Florida State football fans life was good. It appeared as if it might all apart when Winston was accused of sexual assault, but the case was not pursued due to a lack of evidence.
So life is good, right? As it turns out maybe not.
Florida State’s Title IX Investigation
When the criminal case was dropped the general public pretty much move on, but the controversy was far from over. The university began a Title I investigation into the incident and the three players involved–Winston and two of his teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby.
Charges have been brought against Casher and Darby but not Winston. Should the hearing result in them being found guilty the two could receive a letter of reprimand or even be kicked out of school.
Why? The two witnessed Winston have sex with the female student involved in the case and Casher filmed part of the deed on his phone.
Winston has not been charged with anything because–as his attorney has advised–he has refused to answer any questions. Whether the school will move forward anyway and without any other evidence being presented remains to be seen.
How Does Title IX Apply?
The basic purpose behind Title IX was to protect the rights of women at public institutions and make sure that they had equal access and opportunity:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Under the law the actions that Darby and Casher have admitted to can be deemed as creating a hostile or offensive environment.
FSU Under Federal Investigation
The Department of Education has opened a Title IX investigation in to how Florida State handled the investigation and whether it responded in an appropriate manner to a sexual assault allegation. The Office of Civil Rights will be looking in to whether the school responded appropriately to sexual assault complaints or if it failed to do so and created a hostile environment instead.
What exactly is going to happen next remains to be seen. With the threat of sanctions from the investigation looming over the university the school may be prompted to push a little harder to find some sort of resolution itself. Should Casher and Darby be faced with expulsion it will be interesting to see if they continue to stick to their stories or if they alter them in order to save themselves.
In the meantime, Winston remains a popular figure in the public eye and someone many look forward to playing football again next fall. It is interesting to note on thing–if he didn’t do anything wrong how come he doesn’t talk to the school?