It’s been pretty frustrating every time new evidence surfaces, or new allegations are made, about sexual assault by football players at Baylor. It’s sometimes truly unbelievable to hear how the athletic department, and university officials, went above and beyond over the past several years to cover up crimes that were being reported. I could go on and on about how Baylor’s actions are deserving of way worse than SMU’s death penalty (which unfortunately won’t happen, because this surpasses NCAA jurisdiction, as explained clearly here).
But instead, I think providing some excerpts from articles that have come out over the course of this scandal will be more informative and hopefully shed some light for anyone who isn’t familiar with the claims made against Baylor and its football players:
“So how does an FBS school lose a player to sexual assault charges and keep the entire thing under wraps? In Baylor’s case, keeping the situation quiet seems to have been pretty easy — just don’t mention it. And local authorities gave them some help along the way, releasing limited information and even getting a gag order from a judge.”
“An investigation by Outside the Lines found several examples in Tanya’s case, and others at Baylor, in which school officials either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults.”
“Baylor police also refused to release any records pertaining to the incidents, even though the Texas legislature passed a law last summer making private campus police departments subject to state open records laws.”
“Baylor University did not investigate a sexual assault report made against two football players for more than two years, despite the school’s obligation under federal law to immediately address allegations of sexual violence involving students”
“Police records detail several more violence allegations against Baylor football players”
“Investigation finds Baylor made life hell for sexual assault accusers”
“This is a surface-level report and does not identify names or details, but even the vague references are damning: The investigation determined that Baylor ‘discouraged’ women from reporting accusations, and ‘retaliated’ against at least one who did.”
“Two women said they were pushed to accept alcohol conduct violations when they reported their assaults, or feared sexual conduct violations if they did.”
“In at least one case, Baylor regents said, Mr. Briles knew about an alleged incident and didn’t alert police, the school’s judicial-affairs staff, or the Title IX office in charge of coordinating the school’s response to sexual violence.”
“Baylor confirms Art Briles knew about alleged gang rape and chose not to report it”
“Baylor football players committed 52 rapes in four years, the majority at off-campus parties hosted by football players, including five gang rapes; the university paid off one woman who said she was raped by giving her free tuition; and football staff arranged for women to have sex with recruits on their campus visits, according to a Title IX lawsuit filed today in federal court in Texas.”
“Damning texts between ex-Baylor coach Briles, other officials revealed in new court records”
“Former Baylor coach Art Briles said Thursday he did not cover up sexual violence by his players or try to obstruct any investigations tied to the assault scandal”
“The latest lawsuit, which doesn’t identify the accused players, alleges Baylor football players had freshmen players bring girls to parties where they would be drugged and gang raped. The attacks were often recorded so video and photos could be shared by players, who bragged about their experiences, according to the lawsuit.”
I don’t see how there can be an opinion drawn from this other than that the program in place was corrupt, and administrators throughout the athletic department and university were turning a blind eye to verifiable crimes.
Important to note that I don’t say this from a Big-12-rival, anti-Baylor viewpoint. I have great friends who’ve attended, and I respect it as a major university. This is a horrid situation, and I swear that if this kind of administrative (in)action happened at my alma mater I’d be just as outspoken, if not more so, about punishment and changes being made.
(Quick aside: the UT system did just release sexual assault survey results and the UT Austin president promptly released a statement. That’s how this information, and these incidents, should be handled. Head-on, with immediate sympathy for victims and a willingness to investigate any offense, regardless of who is being accused.)
I can’t imagine what a person has to go through to be a victim of sexual assault and then be totally disregarded by a university that’s presumed to take excellent care of its students. I truly believe any institution that is willing to go to these lengths to cover up crimes, let alone continuously allow victims to suffer, should be reprimanded to the greatest extent possible. This whole saga reads like a fucked up mashup of Blue Mountain State and Spotlight.
That’s why this is so much worse than SMU’s infractions. There are actual victims involved, not just students and alumni who have to live without a good football team. Since the death penalty isn’t possible, I hope whatever state and federal law hands down to Baylor will be enough to convince coaches they should be proactive when made aware of sexual assault allegations — instead of just standing on the sideline, avoiding any contact.