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Sep 24, 2014 03:27 PM EDT

NCAA President Addresses Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: Colleges Responsible for Punishing Student-Athletes


The NCAA pledged to support the White House's "It's On Us" campaign, but Mark Emmert said it will be the responsibility of individual schools to handle such cases.

According to the Associated Press, the NCAA president addressed the media Tuesday before delivering a lecture at Rockhurst University in Kansas City on the future of college sports. "It's On Us" is part of the White House's larger campaign to combat campus sexual assault and calls for young people to take responsibility for their actions and to speak out against the crime.

"If a student-athlete engages in bad behavior, they have to be subject to the same standards of conduct as everyone else," Emmert told reporters. "The most important thing to the NCAA membership, has always been that students aren't treated in any privileged or disproportionate fashion."

The NCAA, several Division I conferences, media outlets and many more have already signed the pledge on to recognize and uphold its mission statement.

"To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault. To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur. To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported," reads the pledge.

While Ray Rice was seen on video striking his then-fiancé down with one punch and Adrian Peterson accused of beating his own child, sexual assault has been a major issue on college campuses. Since the launch of a task force in Jan., the White House has aimed to curb sexual assault on college campuses.

"The real question is, 'Should-athletes be held to a higher standard?' I want them to be held to the same standards that you and I are," Emmert said, though he noted that certain high-profile players will garner more attention than many of their classmates would.

"I don't know that we need to hold them to a higher standard," he said. "They are in many cases highly visible people and they have to know that there are certain responsibilities, and they need to be handled accordingly."

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