Social Justice Invades College Sports: Welcome to the New Utopia

There’s an adage about the road to Hell we’ve all heard before. It’s paved with something… Oh yeah, good intentions. I’m no theological expert, but I’m willing to bet emotions masquerading as reason are the roadbed those good intentions rest on.

Title IX, now called the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, was passed by Congress and signed by President Nixon in 1972. Its intentions were good (those words again!). Sponsored by Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, the bill was written to give women access to all areas of education available to men. The central focus, however, was college athletics.

Over time, the program produced results, with the number of female athletes increasing at both the college and high school levels. Many claimed those advances came at a high cost for men’s athletic programs. Indeed, institutions across the country cancelled team sports for male students to comply with Title XI mandates. But, overall, life went on for students. Then, the Obama administration got involved.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault became a primary concern of Title IX enforcers. In 2011, Vice President Biden announced a non-legal, binding guideline that changed the rules of evidence required to investigate and discipline students accused of sexual misconduct on campus. Good intentions for handling a serious problem that must be effectively dealt with no doubt made everyone involved feel all warm and fuzzy because they were doing something. However, we’ve already established what happens when government concerns itself with good intentions instead of reality. Paving that wide, straight road into the netherworld almost always does more harm than good.

The new guideline stated that reasonable doubt no longer applied. An accused student’s guilt would be determined by a preponderance of evidence. In other words, a student accused of sexual assault would always be guilty unless campus authorities could be convinced otherwise. Two University of Southern California students have learned a hard lesson about importance of the reasonable doubt standard used in our justice system.

Zoe Katz is a nationally ranked tennis player and was the captain of USC’s women’s tennis team last season. Her boyfriend, Matt Boermeester, kicked a forty-six-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 52-49 win over Penn State in this year’s Rose Bowl. A fellow student saw the couple horsing around one night, roughhousing, and mentioned it to his roommate. The roommate reported what he’d heard, not seen, to a member of USC’s coaching staff. Then the Title IX office stepped in, and both Katz’s and Boermeester’s lives took a sharp turn in a southerly direction.

Matt Boermeester was immediately suspended from the football team and forbidden from having any contact with his teammates. In fact, he wasbanned from campus altogether. Only two classes short of graduating, Administrators also said his credits would not transfer to another institution, even though he needs only two more classes to graduate. In addition, he was denied rehab services for the knee surgery USC doctors had performed two weeks earlier. Worst of all, he was informed that any contact with Katz would carry dire consequences. That was all before USC’s Title IX office had started their witchhu… investigation.

Katz was called in and interviewed – interrogated – multiple times. When she insisted that not only would her boyfriend never abuse her, but that she would never stand for it, Title IX investigators told her she must be a battered woman, afraid of Boermeester. The more she insisted they were wrong and her boyfriend was being railroaded, the more she was harassed, coerced, and condescended to by the same people tasked with protecting her from those very things. Finally, she sought legal counsel to protect both herself and her boyfriend.

In a statement released through her lawyer earlier this week, Katz said, in part,

I am Zoe Katz and I am a 22-year-old student athlete at USC (captain of the women’s tennis team), nationally ranked singles player and have been dating Matt Boermeester for well over a year. Matt, the Trojan kicker who helped win the Rose Bowl, has been falsely accused of conduct involving me.

The fact that I have to publicly state this truth is because of how both Matt and I have been treated by USC’s Title IX office.

I am speaking up now because this horrible and unjust six-month process has finally concluded. I will tell you that I am afraid of USC’s Title IX office. I hope that my comments will not cause USC’s Title IX office to further retaliate against me in any way.

I want to be very clear that I have never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt. He is an incredible person, and I am and have been 100% behind him. Nothing happened that warranted an investigation, much less the unfair, biased and drawn out process that we have been forced to endure quietly.

The school issued a terse statement in response to requests for information about the case. It read,

USC stands by its investigation and the evidence, which includes accounts provided by multiple witnesses. As previously stated, student disciplinary records are confidential. If the students involved waive their confidentiality rights, the university will offer a detailed response.

This is only one instance of the left’s rank abuse of Title IX to pursue their agenda. Courts have found that colleges and universities violated an accused student’s right to due process twelve times in recent months. Other institutions have settled instead of going to trial. This case is sure to increase one of those numbers in the near future.

Ruining lives with only the presumption of guilt is bad enough. Turning real cases of sexual assault – a devastating, gut-wrenching issue – into a three-ring circus is even worse. It’s hard to take a problem seriously when campus authorities use kangaroo courts to advance their agendas at the cost of students’ lives and futures. How many more students will suffer so social justice warriors can feel good about themselves and congratulate each other on their good intentions?

The first one made it too many.

Roy Jeffords is an author, ghost writer, and curmudgeon-at-large. A graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, he lives in Texas with his wife and their two boxers. Find him on Facebook at Roy Jeffords, Twitter @royjeffords, and Instagram royjeffords.