Trouble At Baylor
There’s something wrong at Baylor University. It’s been wrong for a long time.
A recent lawsuit alleges that 31 football players committed 52 rapes, including gang rapes, between 2011 and 2014. That’s a greater number than had been reported in the past, but any number over zero is bad. Double digits would be eye-opening. Fifty-two is an epidemic of crime and tolerance of it.
The NCAA, so quick to punish at ‘student-athlete’ for earning a dollar or peddling a T-shirt, has done nothing to punish Baylor. This would be the NCAA that stripped Division III Thomas More College of a women’s basketball championship for using an ineligible player. There’s nothing wrong with the NCAA coming down on Thomas More for breaking a rule. But its silence in the face of violence and sexual assault? Inexcusable. Which should be the NCAA’s motto.
The Big 12 Conference on Wednesday decided it would withhold part of Baylor’s TV revenue. Ooh, action. No. Not really. It’s a temporary move and the money goes to Baylor when the conference is satisfied a third-party investigator’s recommendations for changes have been made in Baylor’s athletic department. What a powerful condemnation (not).
Baylor, the Big 12, the NCAA, all want glory. But the old expression is “no guts, no glory.” And they have no guts. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the conference has not considered kicking Baylor out, nor fining it (because he said, sufficient evidence of wrong-doing is lacking).
Baylor got rid of its old coaching staff, and the players alleged to have committed these crimes are gone. How do you punish the institution without punishing those there now who didn’t do wrong? But how do you not punish the institution that turned a blind eye to numerous complaints of sexual assault from its female students?
Sometimes the answer is setting an example, making the price for neglecting reports of sexual assault extraordinarily high. Shut the program down? Bar the team from television and bowl games? Those should be on the table.
They aren’t. The Big 12 deducted some money it plans to give back when Baylor’s athletic department behaves like human beings. That’s setting the bar low enough for it to be a tunnel under a mountain of evils.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman