Title IX Is Broken: USC Kicker Booted For Nothing

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I have written for several years on my belief that Title IX investigations on campus are fundamentally broken.

But even I’m stunned to see some of the stories emerging from college campuses these days — like the one involving USC kicker Matt Boermeester, who made the winning kick in the Rose Bowl and was shortly thereafter kicked out of school based on flawed Title IX processes. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s get this out of the way early: anyone with a functional brain is in favor of equal treatment under the law and everyone is against rape. Just like everyone is against murder and assault and any other crime that injures another human being.

Now that this is out of the way, let’s ask a big question that never gets asked: why are universities responsible for investigating rape accusations? The answer is because they’re required to conduct investigations under the auspices of Title IX. It’s a well intentioned application of federal law — premised on the idea that sexual assault on campus is a problem that needs to be treated seriously — but it creates as many, if not more, problems than it actually remedies. Because it sets up two different simultaneous investigations with two different standards of proof, two different investigative procedures, two different consequences and two divergent potential outcomes.

Let me explain.

If a murder happened on campus every single person who has ever been to college anywhere would find it ludicrous if a university was conducting a simultaneous campus murder investigation alongside police, right? Any time there’s a serious allegation of a crime, campus cops call the real cops and let them investigate. That’s because campus cops are equipped to give out parking tickets and respond to noise complaints, they aren’t there to solve murders or bank robberies or kidnappings.

If a serious crime happens on campus just about everyone would say that it’s the job of local police to investigate that crime. That’s because we understand that conducting criminal investigations is time consuming, difficult, and freighted with the obligations to implement that investigation consistent with applicable state and federal law. No college or university has an adequate investigatory staff to determine who committed a murder and assess guilt or innocence. Moreover, the very idea of a college conducting a hearing based on whether a murder happened and applying its own standard of proof, rules of evidence and confrontation rules in that case is laughable.

Yet that is exactly what happens on campuses today when sexual assault allegations are made.

You have a criminal investigation occurring at the same time that a school investigation is occurring. And there are two potential outcomes when a criminal investigation ensues:

1. Criminal charges are brought.

2. No criminal charges are brought.

The first case is simple — if criminal charges are brought students are expelled from school and the campus investigation is effectively moot. But the bigger issue occurs in the second situation, when a criminal investigation takes place and no charges are brought. Then the campus conducts its own Title IX investigation and a student can be kicked off campus if an investigative body on campus finds it 50.1% likely that a rape happened.

If that determination is made then a student, typically male although it can happen to females too, is branded a rapist and kicked off campus.

You would think with these kinds of consequences that Title IX investigations would be fair and impartial. But you’d be wrong. All too often they are kangaroo courts lacking procedural safeguards, protections for both accused and accuser, and lacking in all elements of fairness.

Which brings us to USC.

Just look at the fact pattern of this case.

According to the LA Times:

“The Title IX investigation began…after a neighbor witnessed Boermeester (USC’s kicker) and Zoe Katz roughhousing. The neighbor told his roommate, who told a coach in USC’s athletic department that Boermeester was abusing Katz. The coach then reported the incident to the Title IX office.

Katz said she was summoned to a mandatory meeting with Title IX officials, where she told investigators that the two were playing around. Katz was subsequently told that she “must be afraid of Matt,” she said. She told officials she was not. Boermeester has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

“When I told the truth about Matt, in repeated interrogations, I was stereotyped and was told I must be a ‘battered’ woman, and that made me feel demeaned and absurdly profiled,” Katz said. “I understand that domestic violence is a terrible problem, but in no way does that apply to Matt and me.”

Katz said that she has “never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt.” Katz said the Title IX office made her feel “misled, harassed, threatened and discriminated against,” and caused her to hire an attorney.

“The Title IX office’s response was dismissive and demeaning,” she said.

In the statement, Katz said she is coming forward now to clear Boermeester’s name and lobby for change in the Title IX office’s investigative procedures.

“Matt Boermeester did nothing improper against me, ever,” Katz said. “I would not stand for it. Nor will I stand for watching him be maligned and lied about.”

This fact pattern should stun everyone.

Here you have a boyfriend and girlfriend in a one year relationship who are allegedly playing around and roughhousing outside their apartment. An unnamed witness sees this — we know nothing about this witness — tells a USC athletic department official and then a Title IX investigation ensues.

Neither the man nor the woman says anything improper happened and police bring no charges, but the USC investigator refuses to believe either party to this case and USC’s kicker is expelled from school.

All because one anonymous witness saw the duo playing around outside their apartment.

And now the alleged “victim” in this case is so upset at the outcome that she has hired her own attorney and feels compelled to release her own two page letter to the media to get her side of the story out.

Welcome to Title IX.

It’s a broken system.

And if you think Matt Boermeester at USC is the only innocent victim, you’re wrong. There are thousands of other students just like him all over this country. It’s way past time for reasonable people to acknowledge campus Title IX investigations are broken and return some sanity to the system.

Police should investigate crimes, not campus officials.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.