Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Recreation and Sport Management


College of Science

First Advisor

Chelsea Kaunert, PhD


Typically, when we hear about Title IX, we think of scholarship dollars, ratio of men’s and women’s sports, and equal funding, but in the past several years we have seen a shift in focus to sexual misconduct. Studies have repeatedly shown that sexual assault rates on college campuses are not on the decline. With one in five college students graduating a victim of sexual misconduct, we must now demand more of those we consider leadership in the university setting. Recently we have seen a trend of prominent women, including female athletes, speaking out about their experience with sexual assault. We also hear of professional athletes and coaches getting in trouble for their role in committing sexual assaults. One of the most prominent cases we have seen in recent years is Michigan State’s disgraced gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The Larry Nassar Case has really shed a new light on the systematic failures of university leadership and since that case, researchers have taken a closer look at what the issues are at hand. This thesis presents the current research behind Title IX sexual assault policies, a case study of Michigan State and its handling of the abuse by Larry Nassar, and recommendations to ensure that university leadership is doing its part to prevent sexual misconduct. These recommendations include universal sexual assault policies and procedures enforced by the U.S. Department of Education and the NCAA solidifying its position as the moral authority in collegiate athletics by implementing a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual assault. This shift in focus from covering liabilities to result-oriented action will better protect those at risk of sexual assault.