According to ESPN, Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston has agreed to move forward with a student conduct hearing concerning his role in an alleged sexual assault that occurred in December 2012. Winston faces four potential violations of the student conduct code: two charges of sexual misconduct and two charges of endangerment. Florida State University’s interim president, Dr. Garnett Stokes, has chosen to have one of three former Florida Supreme Court justices hear the case: Major Harding, Joseph Hatchett, or Charles Wells. Before the hearing, both Winston and his accuser will have the opportunity to strike one of the three former justices. The hearing is an attempt by Florida State to comply with the requirements of Title IX. According to ESPN, Title IX directs universities to adjudicate sexual harassment cases independent of any criminal investigation, and suggests that universities investigate within 60 days of a potential offense. Florida State University did not meet with Winston until January 2014. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is eligible to enter the NFL draft this spring and a possibility exists that the hearing could be delayed long enough to run out the clock on Winston’s college career. USA Today reports that if Winston leaves the university, Title IX will still require the hearing, but it could have less meaningful sanctions, such as a ban against Winston appearing on the Florida State University campus.
Elisa Hevia is a Sports Highlight contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).