I’m often not certain how to handle certain things. This thing is one of them. On Friday evening, the Avalanche-Journal’s Sarah Self-Walbrick reports that Title IX related concerns were brought to the attention of Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt and head football coach Matt Wells. On April 10, 2019, an email was sent to Hocutt and Wells from Title IX Administrator Kimberly Simon asking for a meeting regarding some Title IX concerns. This was approximately one month after the March 2019 Title IX allegations were filed against then Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey.
On April 19, 2019, that meeting happened and this is the official response:
“The meeting on April 19, 2019, was focused on a desire to enhance Title IX training for all of our student-athletes, which was accomplished in the months that followed,” reads a statement from the university. “In order to protect all of our students, all Title IX investigations remain wholly independent of university departments and offices, including the athletic department. Thus, no specific investigatory matters were discussed in the at-issue meeting.”
I’m not sure what this is. I’m not sure if this is a denial, which I think that’s the intent here. That although the Title IX office met with Hocutt and Wells, no specifics could were discussed because the Title IX investigation does not discuss specifics.
There is also this part of the article, which I think provides context for those questions that you might have:
Title IX, a federal law, prohibits a spectrum of discrimination issues, sexual misconduct perpetrated by a student being one of them. Complaints are investigated by the university, not the involved department, if there is one.
An involved department may hear about an investigation through other channels, but a Title IX officer is not allowed to notify a department that a complaint involving a member has been filed.
Therefore, when a student-athlete is accused in a Title IX complaint, the athletics department should not be a part of the investigation, Texas Tech University Managing Director of the Office of Communications & Marketing Chris Cook told A-J Media.
A few thoughts on my end of things.
- Sexual misconduct issues are investigated by the Title IX office. That’s it. Apparently cannot be investigated by the athletic department.
- The meeting that was held, the Title IX officer cannot notify any other department (i.e. the athletic department) that the complaint has been filed.
- The athletic department cannot be part of the investigation and I suppose that as a result, they cannot be part of any punishment otherwise they could be in violation of a Title IX offense. That’s really a question and not a statement because I’m not completely sure.
- I wonder if it matters if Duffey had/has an attorney representing him in this matter. This very well could be a situation where if Texas Tech punishes Duffey, and the attorney knows that individual departments cannot even know about, and I’m guessing much less punish, a player during the pendency of a Title IX investigation, that the football program’s hands were tied?
- I think I have more questions than answers after Texas Tech’s response, but maybe that’s just me. I sort of wish there would be a statement from a human where reporters could ask questions not a statement being released. Many folks made fun of Baylor in that they’d release news on a Friday night when the hope/thought was that no one would read it it and it would get swept under the rug. Well, I think this was published by the A-J on Friday around 8:00 p.m. or so.
- I wish Hocutt would address this head-on, and maybe it would be a lot of, “I can’t comment as to that aspect due to Title IX requirements,” but I’d prefer that I think.