Student Conduct

Is Title IX going to bring down Urban Meyer?

Title IX has been in the news a lot lately for being a 1972 law.  That’s because how it is interpreted has changed a lot over time.  Although most people think of Title IX as a law relating to sports, it covers educational institutions much more broadly.  Sexual or physical violence is where Title IX has become a hot button issue because if students fear violence, school is less accessible. 

Any student of a university which accepts federal funds/ any students receiving federal loans are covered under Title IX.  Urban Meyer would certainly be required to report to OSU if he knew one of his players abused a woman on campus. 

But what if the player abused another student off campus?  Title IX still applies.  Getting assaulted or sexually abused in German Village isn’t going to make you feel any safer when you see your attacker walking around OSU campus. 

Now the real question: If Urban Meyer found out that wide receivers coach Zach Smith abused his now ex-wife Courtney Smith would Title IX apply? The answer is, summarily, no.

If it changes access to higher education the argument could be made that Title IX would apply.  But it would seem that no female’s access to higher education was compromised— if Courtney Smith had, in addition to being married to Zach Smith, been a student at OSU, this analysis would totally change. If Zach Smith’s presence on campus made students nervous or compromised their access to their education, Urban Meyer would be under Title IX obligation to report it. Based upon what we currently know, that is not the situation. 

So far there are no facts which indicate that Title IX would apply. Subsequently, Urban Meyer (and anyone else that may have known of any violence) would have zero responsibility to involve OSU’s Title IX office. Whether or not Urban was under a moral obligation to report it to the authorities is without dispute, but Title IX is a different story.