NOTE: This story has been updated on two occasions based on information the Star-Telegram received after initial publication.
The first update includes information from Baylor officials to the Star-Telegram stating the “statement” as being “factually incorrect.”
The second update includes even more information from Baylor officials to the Star-Telegram. It states that Baylor University admitted it provided the incomplete information and unflattering data points published by the Big 12 in its verification report of the school on Tuesday that BU objected to on Wednesday.
Additionally, the headline on this story - “56 percent of Baylor students have experienced sexual harassment by a faculty member, per report” - has been updated to reflect the most accurate information the Star-Telegram has received.
Buried deep in the Big 12’s verification of Baylor University released Tuesday is the troubling statistic that the alleged problems of sexual awareness at the university extended far away from the athletic department and into the class room.
On Page 43 of the Big 12’s 55-page report it said, “Climate Survey results indicate that 56% of Baylor students have experienced sexual harassment by a faculty member that involved sexist or sexually offensive language, gestures, or pictures. In response, the (Baylor) Title IX Office has offered targeted and individualized trainings for faculty members in Baylor departments on an as needed / as requested basis.
“Further, Baylor recognizes that additional training and education on this issue must be included in its annual online training module for faculty and staff. Baylor currently has begun the process for evaluating and improving this training.”
This is but a small part of a larger report released by the Big 12 that the conference members unanimously approved that Baylor acted in good faith to implement appropriate Title IX measures, and to update its policies and procedures with regards to sexual assault and sexual harassment claims.
While some parts of this report should aid Baylor as it relates to its case with the NCAA, there are portions that will not help.
The Big 12 announced this verification process back in 2016, and withheld $14.25 million in revenue distribution from BU over the last two years.
The Big 12 was never a threat to kick Baylor out of the league, according to sources. The league’s primary concern was to ensure the recommendations made by the law firm of Pepper Hamilton in ‘16 for Baylor were enacted. Withholding revenue was the means to do it.
Baylor has said, repeatedly, it has implemented 105 new rules and regulations with regards to the Title IX policy.
Part of this announcement included that Baylor will cover the Big 12’s legal costs, $1.65 million, and will pay a $2 million fine for “damage” done to the reputation of the conference and its nine other members.
The remaining $12.6 million will be invested for the next four years, and the net earnings will be distributed annually in equal portions to the 10 conference schools, specifically to be used for funding anti-violence and anti-harassment measures on campus and in athletics.
When this four year period ends, the Big 12 board will determine the amount of money returned to Baylor.
This news will have little bearing on what the NCAA does with Baylor and potential sanctions, but the verification by the Big 12 can’t hurt.
What won’t help is within this report is the confirmation that “a lack of institutional control” was a problem at Baylor.
In mid-September, the NCAA sent Baylor a notice of allegations that included, among other items, charges against former Baylor football coach Art Briles, and Baylor for a “lack of institutional control.”
Within the Big 12’s verification report, the league acknowledged portions of the Pepper Hamilton “Finding of Facts.” The report cites the Baylor Board saying, “Institutional failures at every level of Baylor’s administration directly impacted the response to individual cases and the Baylor community as a whole. . . Baylor’s senior leadership lacked consistent or meaningful engagement in [Baylor’s] Title IX functions.”
In recent months, the Pepper Hamilton report has been harshly criticized by former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw, and Baylor Board member Phil Stewart, among others in testimony from Jane Doe cases against the school. Both men allege the report was tailored by high ranking members of Baylor’s Board to paint the problem of sexual assault awareness and handling of sexual assault cases as specific to the football team, and athletic department.
The Big 12’s verification included a portion of the Board’s statement that said, “Pepper [Hamilton] found specific failings within both the football program and Athletics Department leadership . . . [and that Pepper Hamilton’s] findings also reflect significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of athlete misconduct.”
Baylor has until approximately mid-December to respond to the NCAA’s notice of allegations. The two sides will then likely negotiate.
A public resolution from the NCAA is not expected until the spring of 2019.
Baylor officials are hopeful that the measures it has taken since 2016 will help with the NCAA, much as it did with the Big 12.
Baylor President Linda Livingstone said in a statement: “We are appreciative of the Big 12’s recognition of the significant progress that has been made across the Baylor campus, as well as of our unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our students.
“This is the second external verification of our completion of the 105 recommendations, which have already helped the University prevent and respond to reports of sexual assault and interpersonal violence. We know that this is a very important issue, not only for Baylor University, but for each of the members of the Big 12 and other colleges and universities nationwide.”