The University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA-Wise) is ushering in a new regulation that will help discipline student-athletes who committed sexual assault.

Under the Tracy Rule, university administrators require athletes to undergo thorough background checks. If they discover that an athlete has committed sexual assault or violence, UVA-Wise will ban the student from participating in sports.

“For us, it’s kind of a natural next step in continuing to develop our campus culture,” UVA-Wise Athletic Director Kendall Rainey said. “It’s about continuing to educate our college constituents on how we can just be better, and just be the best us we can be.”

UVA-Wise’s adoption of this initiative comes about 2 years after the NCAA began requiring more transparency on sexual assault matters.

Specifically, the NCAA announced that student-athletes would need to disclose if they’ve been investigated, disciplined, or charged over sexual misconduct or domestic violence. The matter also covers other forms of violence that resulted in serious injury or involved deadly weapons.

However, although the NCAA unveiled this groundbreaking policy in 2020, they postponed it until fall 2022 due to COVID-19.

The Tracy Rule takes this policy one step further by outright banning culpable student-athletes from sports entirely. It’s also worth noting that the regulation is named after Brenda Tracy, an activist and rape survivor.

So far, UVA-Wise is the second college in the United States to adopt the Tracy Rule. In 2019, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) became the first institution to embrace the regulation.

“Not everybody has the courage of UTSA and UVA-Wise,” Tracy said. “I believe they’re setting an example for other schools, and hopefully, other schools will see what they’re doing and realize that this is not as scary as they think it is and that this is a good thing for our campuses and communities.”

UVA-Wise Chancellor Donna Henry also spoke on the school’s adoption of the Tracy Rule.

“I would never want anything to happen to a student, like what happened to Tracy, that perhaps was preventable,” Henry said. “I think with this policy in place, that just gives us some extra tools for prevention. And hopefully we’ll make our campus even safer than it currently is.”

What do you think about the Tracy Rule?