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NCAA issues handbook outlining how schools should handle sexual assault allegations

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA says it has issued its member schools a new handbook that outlines the role an athletic department should play in dealing with sexual assaults.

The NCAA executive committee's statement at the beginning of the handbook states athletic departments must:

— Know and follow campus protocol for reporting incidents of sexual violence and report immediately any suspected sexual violence to appropriate campus offices for investigation and adjudication.

— Educate all student-athletes, coaches and staff about sexual violence prevention, intervention and response.

— Assure compliance with all federal and applicable state regulations.

— Cooperate with but not manage, direct, control or interfere with investigations into allegations of sexual-assault.

"It is imperative that all athletics department staff and all student-athletes understand the issues and how to respond as bystanders, find help and work with campus authorities," President Mark Emmett wrote in a letter to athletic administrators.

The Department of Education earlier this year released a list of 55 schools under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints. The department did not specify whether any of those cases involve athletes.

Florida State was on the list. Seminoles quarterback James Winston was accused of a sexual assault by a female FSU student, but prosecutors in Florida decided there was not enough evidence to charge him.

The handbook is titled: "Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence: Athletics' Role in Support of Healthy and Safe Campuses."

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