In June of this year, it was reported that Baylor wasn’t expecting any type of earth-shattering NCAA penalties in connection to the sexual assault scandal that rocked the university in general and the football program specifically two years ago. Two months later, it appears circumstances may have changed.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Mac Engel is reporting that BU has been advised to self-impose sanctions on its football program, including a one-year bowl ban for the Bears for the 2018 season. The recommendation of a postseason ban reportedly comes from the law firm that is representing the university as the football program wades its way through the NCAA’s investigation.
Per the Star-Telegram, that investigation took a “left turn” at some point in the not-too-distant past that wasn’t favorable towards Bears football. That left turn, coincidentally or not, came not long after several current and former BU officials, including ex-athletic director Ian McCaw, spoke to NCAA investigators.
In a late-June deposition in connection to a lawsuit filed by nearly a dozen women against Baylor, McCaw, now the athletic director at Liberty University, claimed that university officials had engaged in “an elaborate plan that essentially scapegoated black football players and the football program for being responsible for what was a decades-long, university-wide sexual assault scandal.” The university subsequently fired back at McCaw’s portrayal.
According to Engel’s report, the NCAA’s investigation should be completed within the next 60 days. That conclusion would serve as the bookend for what’s been a disturbing, years-long series of revelations.
In late January of 2017, damning details in one of the handful of the lawsuits facing the university emerged, with that suit alleging that 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011.
Not long after, a legal filing connected to the libel lawsuit filed by a former BU football staffer produced emails and text messages that paint a picture of former head coach Art Briles and/or his assistants as unrestrained rogue elements concerned with nothing more than the image of the football program off the field and its performance on it. The details in a damning document dump included allegations that Briles attempted to circumvent BU’s “judicial affairs folks” when it came to one player’s arrest… and on Briles asking, in response to one of his players brandishing a gun on a female, “she reporting [it] to authorities?”… and asking “she a stripper?” when told one of his players expected a little something extra from a female masseuse… and stating in a text “we need to know who [the] supervisor is and get him to alert us first” in response to a player who was arrested on a drug charge because the apartment superintendent called the police.
In reference to a woman who alleged she was gang-raped by several Bears football players, Briles allegedly responded, “those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”
In response to the report of a potential bowl ban, Baylor issued the following statement:
It is irresponsible to report that Baylor is considering a football bowl ban for the 2018 season when in fact the NCAA investigation into the prior football staff and previous athletics administration remains active and ongoing. Additionally, it is premature to speculate as to what the University’s sanctions will be at this point in time.