Media, including the Dallas Morning News, reported Friday evening that Baylor University had been hit with a lawsuit by an “Elizabeth Doe,” citing numerous Title IX violations.
The allegations state 52 rape cases by 31 different players took place between 2011 and 2014, a rapid departure from the earlier Pepper Hamilton report, which stated 17 alleged incidents between 19 players.
Among the newest revelations in the case was the recounting of an alleged incident where then-OC Kendall Briles, who now coaches at Florida Atlantic, was alleged to asked a recruit about his “taste in white women” and said there were “a lot of them that love football,” a not-so-subtle insinuation about the sexual culture at Baylor.
Kendall wasn’t alone; his father, former head coach Art Briles, was also alleged to have encouraged a “show ’em a good time” culture which used sex as a recruiting tool.
These are, of course, the tip of the iceberg in terms of the revelations. The rest of that disturbing list can be read here. Suffice it to say that it does not put the staff and administration of Baylor, a private Baptist college, in God’s good graces.
It is frankly baffling that the NCAA has allowed this sort of embarrassing behavior to go on for too long from a member institution.
Sadly, that silence is nothing new; Penn State pulled off a similarly sinister cover up only seven years ago and got off relatively scott-free.
For those that have forgotten (or need to be reminded,) Penn State and former coach Joe Paterno had knowingly covered up the pedophilia and sexual assault that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky committed for decades.
Penn State was sanctioned shortly after Sandusky was charged. The football program lost a bevy of scholarships over three years and were banned from prime-time performances and the postseason.
Assuming the allegations are true for Baylor, both programs made their legacies on saying nothing. Not only did they say nothing, they actively enabled bad behaviors that in no way, shape or form could ever (or should ever) be condoned as leadership.
Baylor took on recruits and transfers they knew had history of sexual assault. According to the allegations listed by both Pepper Hamilton and Elizabeth Doe, coaches and players would send instructions through a messenger or personally attempt to cover up cries involving football players.
In one case, Baylor allegedly “solved” the problem of the rape of a female athletic trainer by two football layers by transferring her to a different athletic program and paying for her schooling.
They paid for her silence. The audacity.
Baylor’s shiny new McLane Stadium is a gloriously shallow venue. The brick facade that surrounds the field is just that: a facade. It’s a tarp that covers up the fact that Baylor was so rich with its newfound success under Briles and company, it had to build a shrine to its opulance.
Much like a lot of small towns in Texas, Waco is no exception to the motto that football reigns over all.
Fans of the program that feel unfairly persecuted (which, given Waco’s history, is somewhat understandable) conducted blackouts and wore #CAB on their persons.
That stood for Coach Art Briles. It did not stand for “Champions are Built”, which was the university’s attempt to quell that tide.
There was also that small thing about “Truth Don’t Lie,” a variation on Briles’ philosophy of “Ball Don’t Lie” that a lot of the assistant coaches, Kendall included, used.
Well, people do lie. And from the sound of it, a lot of people did over there. A lot of people were willing to put their careers and a simple game over the lives of students trying to get an education.
Let it not be mistaken: lives were ruined in this exchange.
Feel good about everything you accomplished in your half-decade of prominence, Baylor. You earned it.
Just take notes from Penn State on how to deal with it.
It was known that Sandusky had multiple incidents with kids that came through Penn State’s camps. Coaches knew; if coaches knew, then certainly, players had to know something was the matter. But no one spoke up. The culture won over everything.
Hell, even Penn State’s uniforms say nothing.
The NCAA jumped right in and limited Penn State to 75 scholarships over three years, banned the Nittany Lions from the postseason and from prime-time games.
Penn State struggled that first season after Paterno’s death under Bill O’Brian. Depth was definitely an issue and that was directly attributable to the sanctions. The decision to add last names to the uniforms early on were met with scorn from a lot of alumni.
O’Brian didn’t last long.
Penn State’s sanctions were lifted halfway through the supposed penalty and they hired James Franklin, who has attempted to re-frame the school as a plucky underdog. He praises Penn State’s tradition and paints them as a resilient team that found ways to float through adversity to once again reach the pinnacle.
Franklin took off the names from the jerseys, a welcome decision from fans. Joe Paterno had a halftime tribute this year during a game. His son Jay and family member Sue will be running for the board of trustees in the next elections.
Program, culture and tradition overpowers everything in State College, Pennsylvania.
We can no longer be swept up by the narrative of “punishing the players that weren’t involved.” This is ultimately about the toxic culture surrounding Baylor and the protection of fellow students upon a relatively small campus. That will last a lot longer than four years.
We have to remember that these football players are students first. Knowing that, it is simply ludicrous to put them on a different, more privileged plane than any other student on that campus.
If what Penn State covered up (which, might I remind you was rampant, unchecked pedophilia) was deserving of “severe restrictions,” then what Baylor allegedly covered up, if true, deserves nothing short of death by electric chair.
Baylor and Penn State may have made their respective legacies by saying nothing, but that does not mean that we have to stay silent until justice is served.