College Confidential

ESPN details more allegations against Baylor football players

An ESPN report has detailed more allegations of violence by Baylor football players.
An ESPN report has detailed more allegations of violence by Baylor football players. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Baylor football coach Art Briles to deflect questions about allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence involving several Baylor football players.

As Baylor’s regents review a law firm’s preliminary report on the university’s handling of those allegations, ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Wednesday presented a lengthy account detailing new allegations of sexual assault that had not previously been reported.

The report by Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach states that “at least some Baylor officials, including coaches, knew about many of the incidents, and most players did not miss playing time for disciplinary reasons.”

It also states, according to a police report obtained by Outside the Lines, that in a 2011 case, an assault at an off-campus event in Waco ended with three football players being charged. According to the report, Waco police’s investigating officer asked a commander that “the case be pulled from the computer system so that only persons who had a reason to inquire about the report would be able to access it.” The report, Outside the Lines reports, was placed in a locked office.

Three Baylor football players previously not named were accused or charged with violence toward women: running back Devin Chafin, cornerback Tyler Stephenson and safety Ahmad Dixon. Dixon told Outside the Lines this week that the woman made up the allegations because she was angry with him.

After Outside the Lines attempted to reach more than a dozen members of Baylor’s board of regents over the last two weeks with none replying to multiple phone messages and emails, a Baylor spokeswoman issued a statement when reached for comment:

“We are certain the actions that result from this deliberative process will yield improvements across a variety of areas that rebuild and reinforce confidence in our university. We are saddened when any student, including a student-athlete, acts in a manner inconsistent with Baylor’s mission or is a victim of such behavior.”

Baylor has come under scrutiny for months about its handling of the allegations.

Here’s a breakdown of events, per ESPN:

In January, Outside the Lines reported several examples in which school officials either failed to investigate, or failed to adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults, in apparent violation of Title IX federal law. The story reported that former defensive end Tevin Elliott was suspected of four sexual assaults and one attempted assault from 2009 through 2012 and was found guilty of one sexual assault. Former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was accused of sexually assaulting a Baylor soccer player in 2013 and found guilty.

In April, Outside the Lines reported that Baylor did not investigate a sexual assault report made against football players Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman for more than two years, despite the school’s obligation to do so under federal law. They never faced charges.

Last month, former defensive end Shawn Oakman was charged with sexually assaulting a Baylor graduate student. He had been investigated in 2013 for assaulting an ex-girlfriend, who at the time declined to press charges.

Baylor took more than three years to comply with a federal directive to hire a full-time Title IX coordinator, which it eventually did in fall 2014.

Baylor is just 13 years removed from the shocking murder of basketball player Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson, and the coverup by disgraced coach Dave Bliss.

Bears coach Art Briles, beloved by Baylor fans for transforming a punching bag of a football program into a national power, has not directly addressed the allegations, preferring to speak in generalities about how the program takes every step to prevent such incidents.

Baylor president Ken Starr has been criticized for his silence as more allegations continue to surface. Athletic director Ian McCaw said Baylor has a “zero-tolerance policy for any type of sexual violence.”

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