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Penn State Athletics Earns Big Ten’s Third-Best LGBTQ+ Inclusion Score

Penn State Athletics received a score of 80 out of a possible 100 in the 2021 Athlete Equality Index, which was released in early April.

The ongoing index provides the “most comprehensive look at LGBTQ+ inclusion across all NCAA Division I athletic departments,” according to Athlete Ally. Universities are ranked on metrics like nondiscrimination policy, sexual harassment policy and trans inclusion policy.

Penn State earned a perfect score in all categories except trans inclusion policy, pro-LGBTQ training for athletes, and annual partnership/collaboration, scoring a 10/15, 0/5, and 5/10, respectively. The total 80/100 score was good for third place in the Big Ten.

Only Ohio State and Illinois ranked higher than Penn State, both boasting perfect scores in the index. The conference as a whole managed a 56.4/100. Comparatively, the Pac-12 earned a 68.8/100, and the SEC scored 33.6/100.

An executive report by Athlete Ally found that 70% of Division I athletic departments do not offer LGBTQ+ resources to their student-athletes, while only 2.8% of Division I athletes compete in departments that fully protect LGBTQ+ identities. According to Athlete Ally, Penn State is among the 10% of schools with a public LGBTQ+-inclusive fan code of conduct.