NCAA and Big Ten officials are being asked once more to commence an investigation of Ohio State’s decades-long cover-up of Dr. Richard Strauss’s sexual abuse of nearly 1,500 students and student-athletes.
Last week, nearly 200 Strauss survivors and student-athletes requested that the NCAA and Big Ten Conference launch an investigation to hold Ohio State accountable for failures that harmed young countless athletes and that threaten student-athletes today.
At the same time, survivors launched a petition at Change.org asking for public support. It has already been signed by more than 25,000 and that number appears to be climbing steadily.
The change.org petition alleges that Ohio State is being dismissive of survivors by refusing to take accountability for its actions. Survivors point to Michigan State’s settlement with survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse as an example of what OSU should be doing.
One of the survivors who signed the letters is calling on the public, and Ohio State alumni in particular, to urge the NCAA and Big Ten to investigate OSU. “It’s been well over two years since the Strauss scandal unfolded and the first of many lawsuits was filed against OSU,” Strauss survivor and two-time All-American Mike Schyck said. “But the university continues to try to have our lawsuits dismissed. We need justice so we can heal and move on with our lives.”
Many petition-signers agree with Schyck.
One wrote, “This isn’t the kind of thing that can go ignored. OSU needs to understand that.”
Yet another said, “The NCAA has an obligation to protect student-athletes. Understanding this cover-up is key to preventing anything like this from happening again.”
The NCAA and Big Ten is being asked to ensure that large-scale, long-time sexual abuse does not happen again at any Big Ten or NCAA-member institution by holding OSU accountable, much like they did with Penn State. In 2012, the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million for covering up coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse and the Big Ten fined them $13 million.
Any financial sanctions imposed by the NCAA and Big Ten would be “used to establish a Victims Assistance Fund for student-athletes of sexual abuse and sexual assault,” the survivors’ letters said. “We also want them to establish rules and practices that would prevent anything like this from ever happening again and we want OSU held accountable, so other institutions learn that covering up sexual abuse comes with a high price,” says Schyck.