Fox investigation shows FSU obstructed Jameis Winston investigation

Fox released stunning results of its investigation into how Florida State “handled” the Jameis Winston investigation when he faced rape allegations. In some ways this shouldn’t be stunning at all – the campus police and athletic department basically did everything possible to undermine the investigation and keep Winston on the field. They stacked the deck in favor of the defense and made it hard for the prosecutor to conduct a real investigation, basically tainting witnesses by letting the defense have first crack.

Its this kind of disgrace that has many people rightfully outraged but is also leading to proposals on how to deal with sexual assault allegations on campus that can create other problems.

The key is to force universities to take this stuff seriously and care as much about the alleged victim as they do about athletes.

On the other hand, knee-jerk suspensions of any player immediately after an allegation is made is also problematic. We just saw that this week in Florida when a player was immediately suspended and then soon after reinstated after the accuser recanted. We don’t know whether this was a case of false accusation, but this case looks very bad.

The question of whether athletes or other students will receive real due process when accused of sexual assault will be front and center as pointed out by Jonathan Chait after states like California start to rewrite the rules regarding these issues. The real way to deal with this would be to make sure athletes like Jameis Winston do not get special treatment and allegations are treated seriously, but getting rid of due process goes way too far.

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