… and then there’s Chernobyl-level complete nuclear meltdown toxic.
In response to multiple questions about a former Baylor coach who claims to have talked to Judicial Affairs in 2013 about an allegation that one of his student-athletes had been sexually assaulted at a party by several football players, Baylor responded as follows:
To place the news accounts in context, here are the facts about the underlying report of sexual assault: In April 2013, a female student-athlete reported to her head coach that she had been sexually assaulted by five Baylor football players approximately one year earlier. The student-athlete provided her head coach with the names of the involved football players. The head coach immediately reported the assault, including the names of the reported players, to the then-Athletic Director, to the head football coach, and to the sports administrator for the female student-athlete’s team. According to Baylor’s investigation, neither the head coach, the Athletic Director, the sports administrator or the football coach disclosed the reported sexual assault to Baylor’s Judicial Affairs or to anyone else outside of the Athletics Department.[Emphasis added.]
Uh, that would be wrong.
Under Title IX and Clery, a University must have campus policies and procedures for the reporting and investigation of reported sexual assaults. This is in addition to any criminal law enforcement action a victim may seek. Many university employees have reporting responsibilities and if they learn of a reported sexual assault, they must share the report with the designated official on campus. In 2013, Athletic Department coaches and staff should have reported the incident to one of three places: the University’s Title IX Coordinator (then the VP of Human Resources), Judicial Affairs, or the Baylor University Police Department, all of whom would have been in a position to assist the victim and take responsive action. While a victim may choose where or how to report a sexual assault, once informed of the report, athletics personnel may not exercise discretion to not report.
By the way, those questions the school is responding to there were encouraged by a current member of the Baylor coaching staff, who just happens to be Art Briles’ son.
Here’s where things get really disgusting. The school doesn’t directly point a finger at Briles, but it sure does stick something out in its former AD’s direction.
In early 2015, Baylor’s Title IX Office first learned of the sexual assault allegation in connection with three other reports of sexual assault involving multiple football players. At the time, the Athletic Director was asked if he had any prior knowledge of an alleged gang rape within the football program. He denied having any knowledge of the alleged incident. Later in 2015, for the first time, the Athletic Director acknowledged that the student-athlete’s head coach told him about this report in 2013. The Athletic Director explained that he did not take any action, including reporting the alleged sexual assault to Judicial Affairs, because he thought the victim did not want to report the incident. [Emphasis added.]
So, first McCaw lied and then he tried to justify his decision to bury the complaint. Briles may not have done those two things, but that doesn’t change that he was aware of the allegation and failed to report it, pursuant to school policy. The logical implication from that and from McCaw’s behavior was that Briles expected the matter to be covered up in the best interests of the Baylor football program.
People may have lost their jobs over this, but no one from the school deserves any of our sympathy. The school not only turned a blind eye as events unfolded, but tried to walk a fine line with what it learned from the Pepper Hamilton report. That’s not working now because some of the people involved lack any sense of morality and there’s only so much you can sweep under the rug before people start noticing.
That Art Briles walked away from the school with a multi-million dollar settlement despite what the investigation turned up is a sad state of affairs. That we live in a world where it’s not a complete impossibility this man could be involved in coaching again isn’t just sad. It’s horrifying.