You can win big by doing it the wrong way, but such winning invariably bears an expiration date. When such a program finally gets exposed, it’s not just the program and its coach taking the fall – it’s the school and everything for which an institute of higher learning is supposed to stand.
Baylor won a lot of football games under Art Briles. He’s about to be out of job. School president Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor in Clinton/Lewinsky, is no longer school president. (Officially he’s still chancellor, but that surely won’t last.) Athletic director Ian McCaw has been put on probation. The Bears won big, and now they’ve lost every shred of dignity. An athletic program at this Baptist university – the same place that saw one basketball player murder another in 2003 – again stands revealed as a den of iniquity.
From the university’s findings of fact : “Football coaches and staff took affirmative steps to maintain internal control over discipline of players and to actively divert cases from the student conduct or criminal processes. In some cases, football coaches and staff had inappropriate involvement in disciplinary and criminal matters or engaged in improper conduct that reinforced an overall perception that football was above the rules, and that there was no culture of accountability for misconduct.”
Also this: “Baylor failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the university. In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.”
And this: "In some instances, administrative responses and campus processes caused significant harm to complainants. Actions by a university administrator within (the Baylor University police department) and an administrator within an academic program contributed to, and in some instances, accommodated or created a hostile environment, rather than taking action to eliminate a hostile environment."
Got that? Baylor knew it was recruiting bad guys capable of terrorizing women and didn’t care. It brought those “student-athletes” onto its campus and feigned ignorance – or blamed the victim – when some terrorized women spoke up. This isn’t just looking the other way when some recruit hits town in a spiffy new car; this is unconscionable human behavior.
From Richard Willis, chairman of Baylor’s board of regents: “We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the university's mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students.”
Any parent out there interested in sending a daughter to such a school? Any parent interested in sending a son? As crass as it is to root for any program to receive the NCAA’s death penalty – even in a morally deficient environment, not every player/coach/administrator is culpable – but Baylor deserves it. It knew about its rotten apples and did nothing to stop them. Just win, baby.
You’ll have to excuse me here. I need to go vomit.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.