Local advocate asks NCAA Power Five for tougher restrictions on - KPTV - FOX 12

Local advocate asks NCAA Power Five for tougher restrictions on student athletes with history of sexual violence

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Brenda Tracy said she hopes that every school in the NCAA “Power Five” conferences adopts a proposed ban on student-athletes with a history of sexual violence. (KPTV) Brenda Tracy said she hopes that every school in the NCAA “Power Five” conferences adopts a proposed ban on student-athletes with a history of sexual violence. (KPTV)
Luke Heimlich (KPTV) Luke Heimlich (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Sexual assault survivor Brenda Tracy has a message for colleges and universities: student-athletes with a history of sexual violence shouldn’t be allowed to play.

Tracy became a well-known advocate in the Portland area after she came forward with her own story in 2014. She was gang-raped by four men in 1998, some of whom were football players at Oregon State.

Since then, she’s done a lot of advocacy work on that campus and dozens of others, meeting with coaches, athletes and students.

“Oregon State has been many things for me,” Tracy told FOX 12 Monday. “It’s been a source of immense pain and redemption and healing, it’s been a place where I have found support and a home.”

She said she was horrified to hear the news last week that Oregon State star pitcher Luke Heimlich is a registered sex offender.

While she was already planning on working with schools across the country to develop tougher policies around student-athletes and sexual violence, she said Heimlich’s case prompted her to act now.

“As upset and disappointed as I am in all this, I also see an opportunity for change,” she said.

Tracy sent a letter Monday to 61 schools across the country, including Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. She’s asking all 61 NCAA “Power Five” conference schools, which includes schools in the Pac-12, Big 12, Big 10, SEC and ACC conferences, to adopt tougher restrictions when it comes to student-athletes with a history of sexual violence.

Indiana University adopted one such policy in April, and now Tracy hopes other campuses across the country will follow suit.

“I hope that every college will adopt this policy,” she said. “I hope that every college will take this on as an initiative and say this is common sense, safety is paramount, it doesn’t matter if we have an athlete or not, we want to make our campuses safe, and we stop recruiting and, kind of, harboring violent offenders on our athletic teams at our colleges.”

Tracy said she is asking university presidents and athletic directors to work together to do background checks and other thorough vetting, and she hopes the policy will also send a message to prospective students.

“Aspiring student-athletes need to know their behavior matters, and the best way to do that is to implement policies that say we have no tolerance for this behavior,” she added. “If you commit this crime you will not be playing ball for us, period.”

Tracy said she has a meeting set up for later this week with the president of Oregon State, whom she has become friends with through her work.

Late Monday afternoon, Steve Clark, Oregon State University Vice President of University Relations, issued a statement to FOX 12 noting the school's history work with Tracy and "fostering a safe environment" for everyone on the campus.

OSU has worked with Brenda over the past several years on many matters. Oregon State remains committed to fostering a safe environment for every individual on Oregon State’s campuses and within our communities.

She also hopes to hear back from the every one of the 61 campuses she reached out to Monday.

“I just want us to do better moving forward, and we can,” she said. “We can do this. We can change it.”

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