This Student-Athlete Discipline Policy (“Policy”) specifies the procedure to be used by the Athletic Department to respond to certain allegations of misconduct by student-athletes. The Athletic Director (or designee) will decide whether the information known at the time supports disciplinary action and what the discipline should be. The student-athlete may appeal the decision to the Athlete Discipline Appeal Committee.
If the Policy Applies: Immediate Suspension from Team Activities Pending Factual Inquiry
- If the Policy applies, the student-athlete shall be suspended immediately from competition and practice with his or her team.
- In cases involving sexual harassment or sexual violence, the Athletic Director (or designee) shall consult with the Title IX Coordinator before a suspension from team activities is issued.2
- Any financial aid will remain in place.
- The student-athlete’s name will remain on the squad list and with Student-Athlete Services.
- The student-athlete will have access to weight training and sports medicine facilities.
- The student-athlete will have access to academic support services.
The coach for the student-athlete does not make the suspension decision.
- Suspension shall be followed immediately by prompt factual inquiry.
Prompt Factual Inquiry
- Decisions based on facts are important if the use of this Policy is to serve the interests of the University and treat student-athletes fairly.
- The facts of the alleged misconduct may not be described accurately or well-developed when the misconduct first becomes known.
- It may take a considerable period of time for the criminal process or University investigative/disciplinary process to develop the facts.
- A prompt inquiry should be conducted to develop the facts, so that actions taken under this Policy are based on sufficient information.
- The Athletic Director (or designee) shall promptly appoint a person to inquire into the facts, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Whether the student-athlete was arrested and, if so, for what offense.
- Whether the student-athlete was immediately arrested or detained.
- Whether charges have been issued or are likely to be issued, and, if so, for what offense.
- What is alleged in support of the arrest or charge.
- Whether the student-athlete is being investigated for either academic or non-academic misconduct under Chaps. UWS 14 or 17.
- In some cases, certain information may not be available for a considerable period of time. In these cases, the Athletic Director, in consultation with the chair of the Athletic Board and a designee of the Chancellor, and specifically, in cases involving sexual harassment or sexual violence, relying on information collected by the Title IX Coordinator, may:
- Based on the available information, refer the case for decision under Section 8 of the Policy, or
- Reinstate the student-athlete until sufficient facts are available.
- If the student-athlete has not been reinstated, or the case has not been referred for decision under Section 8 of the Policy, the student-athlete may request that a decision be made to reinstate or refer the case for a decision under Section 8 of this Policy. When such a request has been made, the Athletic Director, in consultation with, the Chair of the Board and a designee of the Chancellor will consider the request in light of the severity of the alleged misconduct, and the information known by, or provided to the Athletic Department, to determine whether the lack of reinstatement or referral at that point is reasonable in light of the purposes of this Policy and the desire for prompt resolution of allegations.
Student-Athlete Participation in the Factual Inquiry
- The student-athlete shall be given the opportunity to provide information and to respond to the information offered by others.
Decision About Discipline
- When the appropriate inquiry has been completed, the Athletic Director (or designee) shall consult with the chair of the Athletic Board, a designated member of the Athletic Board, and the Chancellor’s designee and decide:
- Whether the allegations of misconduct are supported by information that is sufficiently reliable to support action under this Policy.
- The Athletic Department shall not conduct independent investigations or make findings in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence and, instead, will defer to the findings of the investigation conducted by the Title IX Coordinator (or designee).
- What disposition is necessary and sufficient to serve the purposes of this Policy.
- In cases involving University investigations of sexual harassment or sexual violence, this decision shall be made in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator (or designee).
- The following range of dispositional measures may be considered and imposed under this Section:
- Reprimand by the Athletic Department.
- Denial of specified privileges (e.g., functions during bowl trips or tournament appearances).
- Imposition of reasonable terms and conditions on continued status as a team member.
- Counseling, and/or participation in a program of training (e.g., drug or alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, etc.).
- Other measures suggested by the student-athlete’s coach.
- Community service.
- Continued suspension.
- Dismissal from the team.
The Student-Athlete Has the Right to Appeal the Decision About Athletic Department Discipline
- The student-athlete may appeal the decision on discipline by the Athletic Director (or designee) under Section 8 of this Policy by requesting a hearing before the Athlete Discipline Appeal Committee (“Committee”).
- The appeal is a review of the discipline decision, not a new determination of the facts.
- The standard of review for any such appeal is one of reasonableness.
- The request for appeal shall be made in writing to the Athletic Director (or designee) within five (5) days of the decision about discipline made under Section 8 of this Policy.
- The Committee members will be selected to avoid actual or apparent conflict of interest and include:
- Chair of UW Athletic Board.
- A designee of the Division of Student Life.
- A coach.
- A student representative on the Athletic Board.
- A representative of the Chancellor’s Office.
- The Committee will schedule the appeal hearing within a reasonable period of time.
- The Committee may be advised by counsel from the UW-Madison Office of Legal Affairs or designee.
- The student-athlete may be represented by legal counsel or other advisor (at the student-athlete’s expense).
- The student-athlete’s legal counsel or other advisor is allowed to address the Committee.
- The Athletic Director (or designee) shall appear before the Committee to explain the decision and the basis for it.
- The formal rules of evidence do not apply.
- When appropriate under the Open Meetings Law, the hearing may be held in closed session.
- The Committee shall decide whether to affirm the original decision or modify it.
- If the Committee modifies the original decision, it may impose any of the dispositional alternatives set forth in Section 8 of this Policy (except dismissal from the team and increasing the length of the suspension from team activities).
Review After Disposition of a Criminal Prosecution or University Investigation/Proceeding
When a criminal case or University proceeding involving conduct addressed under this Policy reaches final disposition3, the Athletic Director (or designee), in consultation with the chair of the Athletic Board, the designated member of the Athletic Board, and the Chancellor’s designee, may review the discipline imposed by the Athletic Department.
The Policy is directed at discipline and does not address the separate question of public announcements of disciplinary action taken. It is important to note that discipline in its broadest sense is imposed by coaches in the ordinary course of their work for violation of team rules. The practice with respect to discipline under this Policy will be to publicly announce suspensions imposed, except in extraordinary cases4. On an annual basis, the chair of the Athletic Board will provide a summary to the Board of the experience with this disciplinary Policy.
Authority of Athletic Director Over Student-Athletes
This Policy does not affect the authority of the Athletic Director to impose discipline or take other actions affecting the participation of student-athletes in various athletic sports activities in circumstances not covered by this Policy.