The University of Wisconsin football program will no longer let freshman players serve as student hosts for recruits after an incident in December 2013 led to sexual assault charges.
During that December weekend, two high school students were given alcohol, and one of them was later convicted of sexual assault. Recruits will also not be allowed to visit other students on campus who they might know from their hometown.
Representatives of the Dean of Students Office will also be discussing sexual assault with all UW teams prior to the start of the 2014-15 seasons.
The changes come after 18-year-old Dominic Cizauskas was convicted last month in Dane County for raping a UW coed he knew from high school on the first night of his official recruiting weekend on campus.
During the trial, then-freshman UW linebacker Leon Jacobs testified that he provided numerous shots of liquor to Cizauskas before taking him to a party hosted by members of the UW track team, where he consumed more alcohol.
Jacobs, who was Cizauskas's student host, also testified that then-freshman offensive lineman Aidan McNamara provided alcohol to his recruit at the track team party. The recruit McNamara was showing around confirmed that statement in his interview with UW police, according to records recently obtained by News 3.
Last month, UW Athletics Director Barry Alvarez said Jacobs' actions constituted a violation of the school's recruiting policies and would be reported to the Big Ten Conference. Alvarez also said Jacobs had been disciplined immediately after his actions were brought to the attention of coaches.
Police reports show Jacobs told a UW detective he originally lied to a member of the recruiting staff about what happened with Cizauskas before telling head coach Gary Andersen the truth in a face-to-face meeting on Dec. 21. UW officials would not specify the discipline Jacobs received, but it did not entail sitting out the following week's Capital One Bowl against South Carolina on New Year's Day. Jacobs recorded one tackle in that game.
"In any case, with any recruit, with any student athlete host, we expect them to be upfront about any visit," said UW Assistant Athletics Director Justin Doherty, saying NCAA rules prevented him from providing details about Jacobs' discipline. "That's about as much as I can tell you.
"What I can tell you is that Coach Andersen, like all of our coaches here, expects honesty and truthfulness and a high standard out of all of the student athletes in the program here. We all do in the department here. We all do at the university. There are oftentimes consequences to not following whatever given policies are not being followed," Doherty said.
Student hosts are required to sign a form stating they will not, among other things, provide alcohol to recruits take them to a casino or provide strippers.
News 8's sister station, WISC-TV has filed an open records request to see the student host form signed by Jacobs, but the university has said to make that public would be a violation of NCAA rules. Further requests of hotel receipts, travel receipts, the itinerary and conversations between Athletics Department officials in the wake of the Cizauskas crime were denied by the university on the same basis.
In an interview last Thursday with Doherty, he would not disclose whether McNamara or members of the track team had been disciplined for their roles that recruiting weekend, stating that it would be a violation of NCAA rules. He would also not disclose whether those violations would be reported to the Big Ten.
Still, Doherty said the Athletics Department and its respective teams are committed to educating its athletes about alcohol abuse and sexual assault.
NCAA rule 126.96.36.199 states that "a member institution shall not publicize (or arrange for publicity of) a prospective student-athlete's visit to the institution's campus."
"We believe some of the issues you've brought up here are quite serious, and we take them seriously," Doherty said. "We continually try to and will continue to educate our student athletes, and I believe that extends to students across campus, the general campus community, about proper conduct, about proper alcohol use and obviously, the dangers and the seriousness of sexual assault."