Opinion: All must go at Baylor

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TNS)


Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TNS)

The slow drip continues from the Faucet of Incredibly Bad News at Baylor University, this time in a new lawsuit with a fresh set of allegations of rape run amok by football team members.

The latest claim is of 52 sexual assaults in a four-year period by 31 Baylor football players. That figure borders on implausible but, considering that it’s Baylor, it’s difficult to dismiss the claim.

Less than a week before new football coach Matt Rhule entices recruits to BU on National Signing Day, the school was hit with its second Title IX lawsuit in a week. If you are counting, this is six such lawsuits concerning multiple incidents of rape by former members of the football team.

I talked to one former Baylor football player who was there when these alleged incidents took place from 2011-14 and he said, “I am telling you I never heard about any of this. And I was on the team. They must have completely buried it.”

Either way, the mess in Waco continues despite the millions spent to clean it up. One Baylor athletic department source told me, “There is so much infighting here you wouldn’t believe it.”

The big names — former football coach Art Briles, President Ken Starr, AD Ian McCaw — are gone, but now it’s time for their bosses to go, too.

A person at Baylor’s department of admissions outlined the many steps the school has taken to adhere to Title IX regulations, and preventive measures now in place. Per a university official, the overall numbers of applicants at the school has not dropped measurably since this ordeal began.

Baylor fundraising, however, has been erratic and divided. A Baylor source told me there is a camp of donors who are irate with the university for its butchering of this situation, while there are just as many who are loyal to their alma mater and have increased their cash donations as a result.

More horrible allegations arose of a “rape culture” fostered by the former football coaching staff, led by Briles, whose career is unofficially over. No one will ever hire him again.

This is what we know, and what needs to happen:

—A lot of lawyers are looking for cash. These lawsuits are predictable and sad. While many of these claims are rooted in truth, there are likely some origins created by good ol’ greed.

—The lawsuits reconfirm that Briles and his staff were simply myopic in the name of beating Lamar, Rice, TCU, et al., in a football game. The man’s sole priority at Baylor was to win the next game. The end.

To varying degrees each coach has a layer of culpability on this, and don’t let any Baylor supporter protest otherwise.

—Many Baylor female students were raped and ignored. If something like this happened to my kid and she was ignored, you can bet I’d want someone’s head on a plate.

—And finally, within the next 12 months, everyone in power at Baylor during this whole ordeal needs to go. They were all responsible in their own way and, for the sake of the school, they need to find employment elsewhere.

Whether it was a culture of rape or a den of denial, this was made possible by a group of administrators who employed the tragically stupid “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about sex — consensual or forced.

While I fully believe the claim in the lawsuit that Briles’ son, offensive coordinator Kendal, asked a Dallas recruit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players,” he also was not espousing rape.

What Baylor had was a denial culture, and it flourished because too many conservative people don’t want to talk about sex.

As long as you don’t talk about something, then it doesn’t happen, even if it does.

The outrageous particulars of each alleged incident may never be proven, but a lot of bad things happened at Baylor that were ignored.

All of the Baylor administrators who agreed to fire Briles for being negligent, and those who did not, were heedless in their own way, too. A complete prevention of sexual assault is difficult to achieve, but a recognition of the tragic existence is easily attainable.

It starts by talking about it. Clearly those in charge at Baylor could not.

Find those who can, and then one day maybe the faucet will be turned off.


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