Mac Engel

Baylor now has a sequel to its basketball scandal

Baylor DL Shawn Oakman on his 2012 dismissal from Penn State

Oakman has been asked by NFL teams about his dismissal.
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Oakman has been asked by NFL teams about his dismissal.

An Austin filmmaker is reportedly completing a documentary on the infamous Baylor basketball scandal. He may want to stick around Waco to do an ESPN 30 for 30 on the football team, too.

The Baylor football program is supplying enough material for a sequel to the disgusting nightmare the basketball team created more than 10 years ago. We now have Baylor’s Shame: Part II.

Wherever your allegiances fall, there is more than enough evidence to trouble even the most ardent supporter of Baylor University, the Baylor football team and Baylor head football coach Art Briles.

On Monday, a report surfaced that police were called to investigate after Shawn Oakman was accused of assaulting an ex-girlfriend in January 2013. The woman told police she did not want to press charges; she just wanted the incident on file.

There is no report of any punishment from Baylor, which is consistent in how it has dealt with these situations.

There are now three instances where Briles gambled on a player, it blew up in his face and no one did a thing about it. Only by clever legal language is this not a fireable offense. It is damnable.

Baylor DE Shawn Oakman had been kicked off his previous team, Penn State, for repeatedly violating team rules.

Everybody wants to win, but in light of what has happened at Baylor since last August, is it worth this type of pain and shame?

This fits the classic yet vague NCAA definition of “lack of institutional control.”

The only thing saving Briles is his 50-15 record since 2011. Hope it was worth bludgeoning the reputation of an entire athletic department that had been repaired since the Dave Bliss fiasco.

There exists narrow windows for Baylor to justify its procedures in regards to the three players in question. But at some point, the right or even obvious action was never considered. Baylor knew three players had serious assault charges against them and chose the best course of action was no action.

If Briles is going to remain at Baylor — and all indications are that he will — the school must take some action against him and athletic director Ian McCaw for allowing this to happen. An assistant somewhere in the athletic department is going to be fired, but this sort of scandal requires more than an obscure patsy.

They are both paid big salaries and the collective denial from the school’s leadership cannot go unnoticed or without some sort of punishment. This is about Baylor’s reputation.

3 Baylor football players who have been convicted or charged with sexual assault since 2009.

Baylor and Briles can mandate that all football players download an app to their phones that tell them to respect women, but until all of this came to light, pressuring the passer was the priority.

Oakman had been kicked off his first team, Penn State, for a “violation of team rules.” The violation? He grabbed the wrist of a store clerk who caught him trying to steal a sandwich. Then Penn State coach Bill O’Brien told Oakman it was his “last strike.”

What, exactly, were his first strikes?

Pathetically, it all adds up. The one area on the field where Briles’ team consistently struggled was defense, and all three of the players in question were defensive linemen.

The other players in this scandal were Boise State transfer Sam Ukwuachu and Tevin Elliott.

Elliott was accepted at Baylor in 2009. He was not dismissed until 2012 when he was indicted on rape charges. He was convicted in 2014 of sexual assault and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

According to a report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, several of Elliott’s victims had alerted Baylor to the assaults and the school did nothing.

According to the report, people at Baylor knew of Elliott’s offenses, but he remained on the team until he was convicted. Then it was time to get tough.

One of Elliott’s victims is suing Baylor for “indifference.” The board of regents, Briles and McCaw are named in the suit.

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In 2014, Ukwuachu was indicted of sexually assaulting a member of the Baylor soccer team. Although he was not eligible to play because of NCAA transfer restrictions, Ukwuachu remained on scholarship and earned his degree from Baylor. He was dismissed from the team when he was convicted in August 2015.

In that case, Briles flatly denied knowing anything about why Ukwuachu left Boise State. Later, it was reported that Ukwuachu had a violent incident involving a girlfriend at Boise State.

The debate was whether Baylor and Briles knew of Ukwuachu’s violent past. That came down to if you believed Briles or then Boise coach Chris Petersen, who said he informed Briles of Ukwuachu’s situation.

Then the Elliott case came up. Now Oakman.

Oakman, who has since graduated and has been preparing for the NFL Draft, was arrested earlier this month in Waco on charges of sexual assault. That case is awaiting a grand jury; he has maintained his innocence and said the sex was consensual.

Baylor President Ken Starr recently said the internal investigation by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton should be done shortly.

He was suspended earlier this season for a violation of team rules, which could be anything from drugs to skipping class. Just not rape.

To deny one case is plausible. Another is pushing it. A third is incredible.

This story is not over, either. The report commissioned by Baylor into the school’s handling of the assaults will either reveal more instances of neglect or illustrate in greater detail the depth of the problems and the potential culprits.

Or, because Baylor is a private school, the school may release an edited version, which would only create credibility issues.

Eventually this saga will end. A head or two will be chopped and new programs will be put in place.

Then the documentary crew will arrive to chronicle Baylor’s Shame: Part II.

Hope it was worth it.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Baylor head football coach Art Briles reacts in August 2015 to Baylor's decision to have an external investigation.

Baylor football coach Art Briles' response to his critics.

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