COLUMN: Sexual assault is a huge problem in college athletics

Rob Le Cates

Kate Stevens is a senior sports media relations major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].

Kate Stevens, Assistant Sports Editor

 Mental health awareness and sexual assault awareness are two of the biggest things that need to be talked about and seen when it comes to college athletics. 

While these things have been talked about, they need more awareness brought to it because these things are still running rampant in the college athletics community.

As we are in the midst of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), I thought I would put together some statistics and materials from other publications and surveys that show just how bad sexual assault and abuse is in the college athletics community.

According to a survey by, they found that when it comes to present and former college athletes, at least one out of every four of them had suffered from sexual abuse by someone who has a position of authority or power on their campus. 

According to the NCAA, there are currently about 520,000 active college student athletes as of December 2022. 

If we put those numbers together, that would come to about 130,000 student athletes who have potentially been sexually abused or harassed at some point in their collegiate career by someone on the campus with authority.

If we look at this when it comes to Eastern’s numbers, there were 427 student athletes in the 2022-2023 year. 

This would mean that potentially about 107 of those athletes have endured some type of sexual assault in their collegiate career by someone of authority on campus.

This survey only looked at assault by someone of a higher power on campus, so I truly cannot imagine how many of them have been assaulted or harassed by others on and off campus.

The NCAA and the schools have to do more in protecting student athletes. They have to make them feel they are safe enough to report when this happens. 

In that same survey, most of the athletes were scared to turn in the coach or their abuser because they feared things would change or they would lose their scholarships. 

This is saddening because these athletes should feel safe when they are playing the game that they love.

There are so many athletes that move away from the safety of their homes and towns and come to these new places to represent these schools.

Some athletes move across the country in order to play sports in the United States. They risk everything to come here to play the sport that they love. 

A lot of them have a hard time communicating because of the language barrier, therefore, I can only imagine what level of fear they would feel coming forward about potential abuse or wrongdoing. 

It is unfortunate that a lot of athletes get harassed and abused while trying to play the game they love. It is truly disheartening.

To those who are scared or nervous to report harassment or abuse: You are seen. You are heard. 

You are loved and you are better than your abuser. Meet with a trusted friend and then try your best to tell a trusted authority figure on campus. 

Your safety is worth more than a scholarship. 

You deserve to be protected by your team, your athletic department, your university, and the NCAA. 

If they are failing to do so, just imagine how many others they are failing.

I know it is a lot more easier said than done, so maybe these universities and the NCAA need to do a better job in making their students feel they are safe.

To the NCAA and its universities, please do better. These athletes have come to represent and play for you. The least you can do is make them feel safe and put their safety above wins and championships and whatever money they bring in.

Your teams will not be successful unless the athletes feel safe and welcomed in the environments they are playing in.


Kate Stevens can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]