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75 MATTHEW G. HAWZEN, LAUREN C. ANDERSON, AND JOSHUA I. NEWMAN On January 25, 2015, The Florida State University Board of Trustees—a public body corporate of the State of Florida acting for and on behalf of Florida State University (FSU)—settled a federal Title IX lawsuit with a former female student, called “Jane Doe” to protect her identity (Jane Doe vs. The Florida State University Board of Trustees, 2015). The student claimed that the university acted “deliberately indifferent” toward her allegations that she was sexually assaulted by former Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston on the night of December 7, 2012, and that the university concealed and obstructed the investigation to allow Winston to play football (Axon, 2015; Tracy 2016). As soon as the FSU Athletic Department was informed that Winston was being investigated for sexual assault, federal law mandates that it immediately inform university administrators. Title IX states, “[O]nce a college or university knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual harassment of students, it must take ‘immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred’ ” (Hogan, 2005, pp. 319–320).1 According to the plaintiff, On January 22, 2013, the FSU Athletics Department was in contact with the Tallahassee Police and learned that Winston had been identified as the suspect in a violent sexual assault. The FSU Athletics Department called meetings involving high-ranking FSU Athletics Department and 4 Football, Rape Culture, and the Neoliberal University (as) Brand Reflections on Institutional Governance in the Jameis Winston Rape Investigation 76 MATTHEW HAWZEN, LAUREN ANDERSON, AND JOSHUA NEWMAN football officials, Winston, and Winston’s lawyer. On information and belief, head football coach James “Jimbo” Fisher (“Fisher”) and Senior Associate Athletics Director Frances “Monk” Bonasorte (“Bonasorte”) became aware of the rape accusations against Winston at that time. . . . For the next eleven months, FSU did nothing to investigate Plaintiff’s report of rape while the FSU Athletics Department continued to keep the incident a secret. Despite Plaintiff’s report to the FSU Police and the FSU Athletics Department’s knowledge of the suspect’s identity, no one at FSU conducted any investigation into the matter. Winston, meanwhile, was named starting quarterback of the football team and, in the fall of 2013, led FSU in the pursuit of a national championship . (Jane Doe vs. The Florida State University Board of Trustee, 2015, pp. 3–4) In the settlement, FSU admitted to no liability for mishandling the investigation , agreed to pay Jane Doe $950,000 in damages, and made a five-year commitment to campus-wide sexual assault awareness, prevention, and training programs. Winston was not charged by the State of Florida for sexual assault— for reasons not altogether clear, even to legal experts around the nation (see Luther, 2015). Nor was Winston, who came under the university’s internal Title IX investigation, found in to be violation of FSU’s Student Code of Conduct (Spousta, 2014). Examining the behind-the-scenes (mis)dealings and juridical two-steps of FSU decision makers and the Tallahassee Police, journalists and critics were quick to lay bare the actions of those in power who ultimately defined the legal, moral, cultural understandings, and outcomes of the event (Axon, 2015; Bogdanich , 2014; Luther, 2015). A New York Times article not convinced of Winston’s moral innocence—which is to be read differently from his legal not-guilty status— suggested, “Winston was never criminally charged in the case, in part . . . because a number of shortcomings in the police investigation left him [local prosecutor William Meggs] without the evidence needed to sustain a charge of rape” (Tracy, 2016, ¶2). Another New York Times report declared, “Records show that Florida State’s athletic department knew about the rape accusation . . . in January 2013. . . . Even so, the university did nothing about it, allowing Mr. Winston to play the full season without having to answer any questions” (Bogdanich, 2014, ¶10). These journalistic accounts, which call into question the integrity of the university and police investigations, provide a critical starting point from which to extend a social and cultural analysis of the interconnections between sexual violence and institutional (sport) governance in the age of big-time athletics and corporatized higher education. Extending this critical examination of the “Jameis Winston rape investigation” (as it became commonly referred to in the media, see Petchesky, 2014), this chapter argues that the various (mis)handlings of the rape investigation(s)—as depicted in publicly available testimonies, documents, and other accounts—reveal the...


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