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UM athletes joining Set The Expectation campaign against sexual assault

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MISSOULA - Purple and teal ribbons for sexual assault awareness are joining the usual Griz maroon at UM athletics this season.

University of Montana athletes and administrators are working to bring attention to sexual assault awareness through the national Set The Expectation campaign.

The campaign features purple and teal ribbons and aims to help raise awareness and understanding of sexual assault.

Campaign founder Brenda Tracy addressed Big Sky Conference athletes last year about her personal horror dealing with rape. Tracy was gang-raped by four men in 1998, including two Oregon football players.

UM Track and Field athlete Charlie Bush says Tracy's speech was a powerful story. He says it brought rival schools together to take on an issue that's bigger than sports.

"If we can bring it to light so it's something that's always being discussed, that way we can actually do something about it," Bush says.

Other athletes agree, saying 'setting the expectation' gives athletes the chance to be community leaders.

"I think it's just our obligation to try and help those people out, raise awareness for it, and make it a bigger kind of deal and treat it with more importance," says football player Colin Bingham.

Jean Gee, senior associate athletic director, says the entire athletic department is supporting the Set The Expectation campaign.

The Griz men's basketball team wore the purple and teal ribbons during last year's Big Sky tournament. This year, they aren't alone, and they want every athlete and Missoulian to help set the expectation.

"It would be an awesome way to spread this," Bingham says.

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