1 in 4 College Athletes in Survey Say They Were Sexually Abused by Authority Figure

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 27, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 21: The NCAA logo is seen on the basket stanchion before the game between the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and the Florida Gators in the second round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 21, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A study commissioned by the nonprofit group Lauren's Kids found over one in four current or former student-athletes surveyed have been "sexually assaulted or harassed by someone in a position of power on campus."

According to USA Today's N'dea Yancey-Bragg, nearly 800 adults under the age of 45 responded to the digital survey that spanned both public and private universities. The data on student-athletes was bleak, with the study finding them two-and-a-half times more likely than other students to say they experienced abuse (with coaches serving as the most identified abusers). 

Only 25 percent of those student-athletes said they reported their abuse to campus administrators, with nearly half of those who declined to report the abuse choosing not to do so for fear of retaliation, including loss of scholarship.

Among non-student-athletes who responded to the survey, 10 percent reported being sexually assaulted or harassed by someone in a position of power.

Florida state Senator Lauren Book, the founder of Lauren's Kids and a survivor of sexual assault, called on colleges and universities to do more to keep students safe on campus. 

“It’s about holding everyone accountable and putting policies and procedures in place," Book said. 

Lawyers representing some of the athletes suing Ohio State and the University of Michigan for sexual assault at the hands of school doctors called the survey a vital look at the state of student-athlete safety. 

“This is a small study but a very powerful one in my view,” attorney Ben Schulte said. “It provides real data and information for parents, people and legislatures to see what’s going on. We need more studies like this.”