What is Title IX?

First things first, Title IX refers to 20 U.S.C. Section 1681(a), a section of law that says: “ No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

So what does this mean exactly? It means that Title IX exists to prohibit sex-based discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.

Who is covered by Title IX?

Title IX is a short statute, it has been interpreted quite broadly by courts and administrative agencies, giving it a broad application to many areas of educational life, including student interactions.

Title IX has been found to protect both women and men, staff members and students, pregnant individuals and parents in a range of educational institutions including K-12 schools, technical institutions, colleges and universities and even things like libraries and museums.

Is Title IX only about sports?

Though Title IX is often seen as relating to equality in sports, the reality is that Title IX requires gender equality in every possible aspect of education and all educational institutions receiving federal funds, whether that’s sports, academics or admissions. It also is involved in protecting individuals from sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus.

What penalties do schools face for Title IX violations?

In the worst possible case scenario, a school found to be non-compliant with Title IX can lose all federal funding. In reality, this kind of extreme punishment has not been doled out. Instead, what often happens is that schools are required to pay substantial damages as well as attorney’s fees when Title IX cases are brought in court.

We represent anyone who believes that their rights under Title IX have been violated. This includes:

  1. Student defendants who have been accused of sexual assault or/and a violation of the educational institution’s code of conduct. We help these students and their families navigate the school’s complex disciplinary investigation and hearing procedures.
  2. Students who bring a claim against another student, staff member, or the university and believe that their claim is being (or has been) improperly investigated or handled. Often, these persons are re-traumatized during the investigative process, and may suffer psychological injuries when the defendant is determined to be “not responsible.”
  3. Faculty and staff members who make a claim of sexual harassment or discrimination against an educational institution in an employment context (i.e., denial of promotion due to gender or sexual identity). Students who also work as Teaching Assistants and in related positions are considered employees under Title IX.
  4. Coaches, players, and other parties who file a claim against an educational institution in an athletic context (for example, female players who are denied access to training facilities, or female coaches who are paid less than male coaches).

This list is not exhaustive. Anyone who is in an educational institution setting and believes that they are the victim of sexual discrimination may bring a claim under Title IX. Contact Tully Rinckey PLLC today to discuss the specifics of your case in detail and learn more about your rights.

Once a complaint of harassment or sexual assault has been made by one student against another, schools almost always begin an often-complex disciplinary process.  Investigations, hearings, sanction boards, student panels and administrators all get involved to determine if the school’s Code of Conduct has been violated by any party; and penalties from loss of student housing, to full-year suspensions to expulsion are common when a student is found “responsible” for a violation.  Tully Rinckey PLLC regularly represents students accused of such violations and offers a zealous defense to these allegations.


When you choose Tully Rinckey PLLC, you aren’t just assigned an attorney. Your legal matter will be cared for by our entire legal team and support staff. With offices throughout the country, coast to coast, we make sure you receive legal counsel and representation you can trust. A number of the partners in our firm have earned the highest possible ratings for their exceptional legal ability and high ethical standards, including the AV Preeminent peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and top ratings from Avvo, Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers.

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Our team-oriented philosophy encourages open and ongoing communication with every attorney, paralegal, and other support staff working with each client ensures we understand their goals. Our commitment to you means meeting your objectives, working attentively and persistently toward your success, and efficiently adjusting to your changing needs.

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At Tully Rinckey, we work relentlessly to ensure our ethical standards and level of professionalism surpass what is expected of us by our clients and the court. Our high ethical principles call us to treat clients with respect, offer affordability to members of the communities we serve, and provide composed and dignified representation.

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Tully Rinckey PLLC is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned law firm founded by military veterans Mathew B. Tully and Greg T. Rinckey, and now employs attorneys who are veterans of the Armed Forces. The military ranks and roles of our attorneys range from a Brigadier General, former Judge Advocates of all Officer ranks, and attorneys who have served as enlisted and Non-Commissioned Officers. The principles of the U.S. military carry over into how we operate our firm. These include leadership, character, technical and tactical proficiency, strong communication skills, seeking and taking responsibility, understanding assignments, choosing the right people for the job, and teamwork.

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