CHICAGO – Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman says there are plans to bar athletes with a history of sexual or domestic abuse from participating in sports.
The proposed plan could go into effect for the coming academic year and would make Illinois the second Big Ten school, after Indiana, to raise the off-field standards for athletes in the last four months.
Whitman told the Chicago Tribune that while the school had few reservations about going forward with the new policy, officials wanted a review or appeals process in place for unique cases.
"That's one of the primary reservations," he told the newspaper. "I do believe in second chances."
Big Ten officials decided that member schools were in better position to judge such cases on an individual basis.
"The conference office a), doesn't have the facts, and b), grinding a policy together in a way that could be easily implemented across 14 institutions and 2,500 incoming students annually would be sort of a heavier lift than what they felt we could do well," Commissioner Jim Delany said at Big Ten media days.
In April, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass announced the school would not accept "any prospective student-athlete – whether a transfer student, incoming freshman or other status – who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence."
It defined sexual violence as "dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct."
The Illinois policy is expected to include similar wording.