Baylor Bears

At Baylor, place the blame where it really belongs

Baylor grad and former Mavs Dancer Kathryn Dunn on the school’s sexual assault scandal

In the rush to blame Art Briles and the university, a Baylor alum says it's being forgotten that it was the athletes who violated the law and our trust.
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In the rush to blame Art Briles and the university, a Baylor alum says it's being forgotten that it was the athletes who violated the law and our trust.

My name is Kathryn Dunn and I’m a graduate of Baylor University.

I say that with a little less pride these days, but maybe not for the reasons you think.

I arrived at Baylor in 2008, the same year as Art Briles.

But my older brother had already been a student there, so I knew how football gamedays went: arrive early to tailgate, go inside Floyd Casey stadium to watch a couple quarters — long enough to see the band. Then leave because Baylor was most likely getting blown out 62-0, or something like that.

Honestly, it was OK, because we were more interested in what was going on at George’s anyways.

Baylor was, hands down, the worst team in the Big 12.

But Art Briles changed all that.

In 2011, three years after he was hired, he led the Baylor Bears to their first bowl game in 15 years. A few years later, we were contending for Big 12 and national titles. We also began recruiting a different caliber student-athlete.

The emphasis was on speed, power, NFL potential — definitely not character. We became consumed with winning, and I believe, over time, it corrupted our team, our players and possibly our coach.

My senior year I took “Psychology in Sports.” My classmates were primarily Baylor football players. I remember on the first day of class, our professor asked a controversial question: “If you are a professional athlete, are you also a role model?”

The class erupted with groans and a resounding: “NO.”

I raised my hand and quickly disagreed: “If you are in the public eye, someone is looking up to you and following your example. Whether you want them to or not.”

Years of competing in pageants taught me that, and, after college, my time as a Dallas Mavericks Dancer confirmed it.

Nowadays, every time I hear a career-compromising story about an athlete, I think back on that moment and wonder: “Why wouldn’t somebody want to be a role model? How does having character and integrity add to the pressures of being an athlete?”

All the problems at Baylor are being laid at the feet of the institution, its leaders and the football program, and, yes, they bear some responsibility. But the ultimate blame belongs squarely on the shoulders of the athletes who committed these horrible crimes.

They are the ones who violated the law, and violated our trust.

At what point will we really hold these young men accountable for their actions? Let due process do its job and punish criminal behavior. Put the rapists behind bars.

Will Baylor become a safer place for students because the regents fired the head football coach? Will that heal the trauma of the victims or reverse the rape culture on campuses?

I doubt it.

If anything, blaming the coach and the university feels like a misdirection play: The focus should be on punishing the criminals.

Baylor football players — all student-atheletes — must take responsibility for their actions. They need to understand that when they put on the Baylor uniform, they are not just representing their team, they are representing an entire university and thousands of alumni.

The athletes in the Pepper Hamilton Report took no responsibility for their despicable behavior. What’s more, they took the entire history of Baylor for granted, forever tarnishing a reputation that took years to build.

Shame on them.

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Kathryn Dunn is a 2013 Baylor graduate, a former Miss Fort Worth and a former Dallas Mavericks Dancer. She has also appeared on Fox Sports Southwest and Time Warner Cable Sports broadcasts.

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