As an NCAA coach, it’s vital that you understand your mandatory reporting obligations in case of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Depending on the circumstances, you could be a mandatory reporter under both Title IX and SafeSport rules. However, there are some important distinctions to be aware of.
Title IX Mandatory Reporting Obligations for NCAA Coaches
Title IX states that 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. For Title IX purposes, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation. The harassment must be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it undermines and detracts from the victim’s educational experience—thus depriving the victim of equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities.
NCAA coaches who are employees of a college or university are mandatory reporters under Title IX. Coaches who are volunteers may not be mandatory reporters, depending upon their specific duties.
If you are an NCAA coach and have mandatory reporting obligations, you must report all actions that would be understood by a reasonable person to be sexual harassment. Any prohibited action that occurs involving a victim and/or perpetrator who is a student (athlete or non-athlete) at the college or university where you are employed, must be reported.
Title IX requires you to report all actions that could constitute sexual harassment. Even if you believe the allegation is false or the complaint was made in bad faith, you must still report the potential violation.
Failure to properly report to a designated Title IX coordinator could lead to disciplinary action for any NCAA coach who is considered to have mandatory reporting obligations.
SafeSport Mandatory Reporting Obligations for NCAA Coaches
The U.S. Center for SafeSport (the Center) has authority over abuse or misconduct allegations that occur within sports under the purview of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). NCAA coaches are also SafeSport mandatory reporters if they are a member or coach of a National Governing Body under the USOPC.
When you are a SafeSport mandatory reporter, you must report child abuse and sexual misconduct to the Center as well as, when appropriate, law enforcement in a timely manner. SafeSport offers various training opportunities to help coaches understand what conduct must be reported.
You can file a report with SafeSport online or by calling SafeSport at 720-531-0340.
Please note that the NCAA's reporting obligations are separate and distinct from SafeSport's reporting obligations. SafeSport’s authority only covers the Olympic/Paralympic world.
A SafeSport mandatory reporter who fails to properly report is subject to sanctions under the SafeSport Code. This means you could get temporarily suspended and face a ban from coaching and otherwise participating in Olympic sport.
Contact the Renowned Sports Lawyers at Global Sports Advocates
In December 2021, Matthew Kaiser spoke at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in Orlando, Florida, and discussed the best practices for coaches handling situations that fall under the U.S. Center for SafeSport Code and Title IX. Matthew, along with founder Paul Greene, has helped NCAA coaches who have questions related to their mandatory reporting obligations under Title IX and/or SafeSport and has represented coaches who find themselves facing allegations that they failed to report.
Fill out our contact form or call us directly at +1-207-747-5899 to schedule a free consultation. Our renowned sports lawyers are dedicated advocates who will work to protect your career and professional reputation.