This process applies when a student-athlete believes that they have been subject to unfair or inappropriate conduct by a coach or other staff member. This process is intended to address complaints appropriately resolved within the auspices of the Athletic Department, where no other institutional process exists. This process does not supplant other institutional processes that already exist for handling other types of complaints, such as complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence. While student-athletes should feel free to report these other types of complaints to Athletic Department staff, student-athletes may report these types of complaints directly to the university offices listed in “Other Resources” below or consult these offices if they are not satisfied with the response of Athletic Department staff. All complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence made to head or assistant coaches; executive, associate, or assistant athletic directors; or human resources representatives will be shared with the UW–Madison Title IX Coordinator and addressed in accordance with the UW–Madison Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. Students-athletes are also reminded of the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback regarding coaches during the end-of-year reviews completed for each university team, and they are encouraged to provide such feedback so that we may continue to improve the student-athlete experience at the university.
While the Athletic Department understands that student‐athletes commonly rely upon parents, teammates, or friends to provide advice and support, the department will expect to communicate directly with the student‐athlete throughout the student-athlete complaint process, which is described below. Prior to making a formal complaint, the Athletic Department encourages student-athletes to first attempt to resolve the issue directly with the coach or other staff member in question.
If a student‐athlete cannot reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue through direct communication or is uncomfortable making direct contact with the coach or staff member, the student‐athlete should report the complaint to the relevant sports administrator. The sports administrator will attempt to facilitate a resolution through informal means, such as suggesting strategies for resolution or facilitating a conversation between the involved parties.
If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the student‐athlete should report the complaint to the senior associate athletic director for compliance, hereinafter referred to as the senior compliance official. The complaint should include the nature of the concern, the steps that have been taken, and the outcome that the student‐athlete is seeking.
The department will make every effort to protect the privacy of student-athletes pursuing a complaint and will refrain from unnecessarily discussing complaints or sharing written materials with anyone other than those who can potentially help determine the appropriate resolution. However, unless compelling circumstances dictate otherwise, the formal complaint will be shared with the involved coach or staff member, and the coach or staff member will be given the opportunity to respond.
In reviewing a formal complaint, the senior compliance official will investigate as they see fit, including, but not limited to, conducting interviews with other coaches or staff members working with the team, team members, or other potential witnesses. If compelling reasons exist, the senior compliance official may involve an individual outside the Athletic Department to undertake or participate in the formal review. At the conclusion of this review, the senior compliance official will summarize the review and what, if any, actions are to be taken as a result of the complaint, for consideration by the director of athletics. The senior compliance official will share or consult with other department or campus staff on the review as appropriate.
When appropriate, this decision will be shared with the involved coach or staff member and the student-athlete making the complaint. The director of athletics’ decision is the final step in this process. Regardless of the disposition of the complaint, any retaliation against a student-athlete for making a complaint or participating in a formal review is a violation of this process, is strictly prohibited, and may result in disciplinary action.
Reports alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, marital or parental status, or any other category protected by law, including physical condition or developmental disability as defined in Wisconsin Statutes §51.01(5) should be made to:
UW–Madison Equal Opportunity Complaint Investigator
Office of Compliance
361 Bascom Hall
Reports alleging sexual harassment or sexual violence may be made to:
The UW–Madison Title IX Coordinator
Office of Compliance
361 Bascom Hall