Fallout from Baylor University’s sexual assault scandal did not end with removal of the Waco school’s president and its winning football coach and sanctions against its athletic director and others.
Even the Baylor Line Foundation, formerly known as the Baylor Alumni Association, demanded the release of more information. Regents themselves are in the hot seat. Lawsuits are possible, as are NCAA sanctions.
It’s an ugly mess. What should other universities be learning from Baylor’s experience? Will treatment of allegations against top athletes change?
Things will not change as long as universities deify student athletes and put public image over student well-being.
Baylor is only the latest example of the many universities facing Title IX investigations over their handling of student athletes accused of sexual assault and rape.
This includes Florida State University, the University of Oregon, the University of Iowa and more than 100 other U.S. colleges and universities.
The situation can change only when this country’s collective attitude toward sexual assault and rape changes.
Student athletes, regardless of their prowess on the field, must be held accountable and not given preferential treatment.
We must cast aside the outdated idea that “boys will be boys” and that physical abilities make athletes untouchable.
When universities decide that student safety and well-being are more important than winning football bowl games, real change can happen.
Talia Luna Fischer, Fort Worth
The situation at Baylor appears to be unique in the way the university is organized, with a powerful board of regents that seems to be either clueless or powerless and a president who apparently had no understanding of human behavior.
Any school must be guided by federal and state laws and a well-developed plan to protect and deliver swift action to protect all of its students.
Sadly, winning, money and fan base seem to be driving universities.
A well-trained university staff and a clear understanding of the law is the best approach for all universities.
Catherine Wells, Fort Worth
When I was taking doctoral courses more than 30 years ago, Baylor was a Christian university.
It did not have coed dormitories and students were required to attend church services. Times have changed.
The board of regents should do full disclosure and not release only portions of the rape study. Failure to do so will only lead to speculation that some type of coverup is still going on.
Although I received my third degree from Baylor, I can’t in good conscience recommend sending students there until the board of regents opens up and changes its way of doing things.
Edward Lindsay, Fort Worth
As a 1967 graduate of Baylor, I can’t imagine this scandal happening when Judge Abner McCall was the president. He was a man of immense integrity. He always led by example.
Apparently winning football games became more important than integrity. Probably not only Baylor’s problem.
Robert Turk, Fort Worth
The entire system of handling athletes who commit crimes should change.
Offenders should be put into the criminal justice system, not the university system.
Coaches and college presidents are not trained to apprehend criminals.
If a player is accused of and charged with a crime, the athletic director should decide whether the player should be suspended from the team.
We recognize that players’ medical issues must be handled by medical personnel. Criminal activity needs to be handled by people trained in the law.
Take the university out of charging students with crimes.
Olive Morton, Denton
Cynthia Allen wrote in her June 3 column that Baylor must not convict athletes and that the media should examine their own role.
Really? The fact is, sexual assaults were committed by Baylor football players and head coach Art Briles and President Ken Starr did nothing about it.
You can’t blame the media for this.
It’s an honor to receive a scholarship, and in doing so athletes must represent the college.
Greedy university staff and the athletes are to blame, and their role should be examined.
Paul Gerba, Bedford
Why not print the skin color of the accused rapists and their victims at Baylor University?
Wayne Pricer, Edgecliff Village
Ken Starr was appointed special prosecutor to investigate the perjury of President Bill Clinton.
The House brought articles of impeachment.
But a partisan Senate failed to convict him. Dozens of women accused Clinton of sexual assault going back to his days at Oxford.
Bill Clinton is the criminal, not Ken Starr.
Joel Lenamon, Fort Worth
The many alumni who are members of the Baylor Line Foundation (formerly the Baylor Alumni Association) have understandably lost confidence in the regents and the Baylor administration as a result of the unscrupulous actions of some members of both those groups in trying to eliminate the BAA and its campus home, the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.
We can only consider standing together with Interim President David Garland “as one voice,” as he requested in a letter to the “Baylor Nation,” if the regents release the full Pepper Hamilton report (with names of victims of course redacted), not just the “Findings of Fact” and “Recommendations.”
We would like the opportunity to judge for ourselves whether those documents “fully reflect the facts and core failings identified in the investigation.”
If the Baylor regents continue to refuse to release the full report, it will be impossible for us to believe that Dr. Garland and the regents have been “as forthright as is possible and are fully committed to presenting the truth of these findings to Baylor Nation and the world.”
We of “Baylor Nation” were educated at Baylor.
We can be trusted enough to be given all the facts before we are asked to commit to coming together “ in prayerful reflection and honest action.”
Bette McCall Miller, Pittsburg