Ooh, look who’s taking a stand!
The NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday took steps to protect participants and spectators from discrimination at NCAA events.
At its quarterly meeting in Indianapolis, the board adopted a new requirement for sites hosting or bidding on NCAA events in all divisions — from the Men’s and Women’s Final Fours to educational events such as leadership development conferences — to demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.
The board’s decision integrates the new requirement into the bidding process for championships, adding it to information already required that outlines available access for people with disabilities and details on playing and practice facilities.
Don’t go too far out on a limb there, folks. Now, the announcement does go on to mention previous bans – “The Association now prohibits championships events with predetermined sites in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag, and prohibits NCAA members from hosting championships events if their school nicknames use Native American imagery that is considered abusive and offensive.” – but doesn’t explicitly call for one in this instance. So all we really know for sure at this point is that if you want to bid for a championship event, you’ll have to let the NCAA know who can pee in which bathroom in your venue.
That’s bold. Just ask chair of the Board of Governors Kirk Schulz.
Schulz, in a story by USA TODAY Sports focused on tensions between religious schools with anti-gay policies, said the NCAA is a “powerful bully pulpit” and that the organization “does need to take some stands.”
You know what else could use a stand by the NCAA? How about not tolerating schools that are serial enablers of physical abusers? You know where you could start with that, right, Kirk?
There has been no shortage of notable numbers associated with Baylor football the past several years. For example, Art Briles’ team averaged 52.4 points per game in 2013. The Bears amassed 645 rushing yards in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl.
Today it’s time to focus on another number that’s turning one of college football’s purported feel-good stories into a human tragedy.
That number is nine. As in, at least nine women have reported to police they were raped or assaulted by Baylor football players since 2009.
One is too many. Nine is unconscionable. Especially when you realize most of those attacks could have been avoided.
Just when I thought there was nothing to add to the Shawn Oakman story, Mandel manages to find something that makes Baylor look even worse.
Earlier this month, Waco police arrested Bears All-American defensive end Shawn Oakman on one count of sexual assault. The alleged April 3 incident involving a Baylor student took place several months after his last college game. Thus, one might suggest it unfair to tie that event to Briles’ program.
Except that earlier this week, Texas-based reporter Alex Dunlap uncovered a January 2013 police report in which a woman identified as Oakman’s ex-girlfriend accused him of assault. She described the lineman — then listed at 6-foot-9, 270 pounds — lifting her by the armpits and shoving her into brick walls and cabinets. The woman did not want to press charges, and the outside world knew nothing of it.
Worth noting, that alleged incident occurred less than a year after Oakman’s dismissal from his original school, Penn State, following a misdemeanor charge for getting physical with a convenience store clerk. If Briles was made aware of that initial Baylor incident — Dunlap reported that he was, but that’s not yet been confirmed — Oakman, who redshirted during the 2012 season, never should have played a down for Baylor, much less remained in town three years later to allegedly sexually assault a student.
I think it’s time to stop making jokes about Second Chance U. Baylor makes Auburn look like Zero Tolerance U by comparison. But I digress. The real question here is how Mark Emmert could fall all over himself looking for ways to hang Penn State over Sandusky’s egregious misconduct and yet turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Waco. And before you say that’s not his place, kindly remember this post of mine that looks prescient here. Bottom line: you break something, you own it. Unless you’re the NCAA and hope simply that nobody notices the broken crockery you swept under the rug.