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Report: Baylor hopes NCAA investigation will be completed this fall, resolution in 2019


Baylor’s massive sexual assault scandal that has rocked the school for the last few years may finally have a light at the end of the tunnel — at least as far as the NCAA is concerned.

A report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says that the school expects the NCAA enforcement staff’s investigation into the program to be complete by the time the upcoming fall semester starts and that an eventual resolution in the entire matter could be made as early as the spring of 2019. Perhaps even more encouraging (if you want to use that word, given the subject) is that in light of recent rulings such as in the case against North Carolina, it seems school officials are fairly confident that they will not be receiving an earth-shattering penalty in the case.

“If people are expecting some sort of ‘Death Penalty,’ I think they are going to be disappointed,” a source told the paper, referring to SMU’s infamous program-shuttering result back in the late 1980’s.

Of course, North Carolina’s academic fraud case is significantly different from what has gone on in Waco.

Baylor is still dealing with numerous lawsuits resulting from the fallout of the scandal, including one alleging that a total of 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over just four years. Then-head coach Art Briles was fired back in 2016 after reports came to light about what was allegedly going on at the program and the university even paid him over $15 million to just go away. School president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw also lost their jobs once several findings were released from an investigation by the law firm Pepper Hamilton.

NCAA cases are notoriously difficult to read and predict however so despite the cautious optimism that things can move somewhat quickly over the coming months, there can always be unforeseen twists and turns. Until the day finally comes that there is some closure between the organization and Baylor however, head coach Matt Rhule and those at the school will have to continue to deal with this still-unfolding scandal for some time to come.

Grand jury will not send suspended Baylor football players to trial in sexual assault case

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A lack of evidence in a sexual assault case involving a pair of Baylor football players means each will avoid being indicted by a grand jury in Texas. As a result, redshirt freshmen John Arthur and Tre’von Lewis will not go to trial and may soon be reinstated by the Baylor football program barring any unforeseen changes in the story.

Baylor conducted a Title IX investigation into an incident stemming from November 2017, in which two female Baylor students reported a sexual assault to campus police. Four suspects were named in the police report, although the identities of the names have been blacked out. The two victims were members of Baylor’s equestrian team. Upon review of the Title IX investigation’s findings, a grand jury determined there was insufficient evidence for the case to go to trial, according to a report by Paula Lavigne of ESPN.

Arthur and Lewis were among four players suspended by Baylor head coach Matt Rhule in March. Sophomore Eric Ogor was among the four players suspended (and later dismissed), but that was said to not be related to the Title IX investigation and instead was due to multiple violations of team rules. Redshirt freshman Justin Harris was the fourth player suspended by the team. Baylor has not changed the status of Arthur, Lewis, and Harris within the program at this time. Arthur and Lewis were the only two players previously reported to be associated with the Title IX investigation. Rhule mentioned in March that three of his football players were suspended by the team due to an ongoing university investigation process.

We will have to wait and see when Baylor will update the status of any of these players, but for now, it does appear they are legally in the clear for this incident.

Reports: RB Terence Williams transferring from Baylor to Houston

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In March, Houston’s leading rusher last season, Duke Catalon, abruptly opted to leave the football program.  Three months later, the Cougars have reportedly landed a potential replacement.

First reported by and subsequently confirmed by the Houston Chronicle, Terence Williams has decided to leave Baylor and transfer to UH.  According to both websites, the running back will enroll in classes next week and will be eligible to play in 2018.

Speculation surfaced in early October of last year that Williams had either been dismissed or left the BU football team of his own volition.  However, the team’s leadership council voted to give the running back a second chance.

Williams led Baylor in rushing during the 2016 season with 1,048 yards and 11 touchdowns after being one of the Bears who didn’t abandon ship in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that rocked both the football program and university.  This past season, Williams, who missed the first three games the year as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, rushed for just 255 yards and a touchdown on 73 carries.

For his career, Williams has rushed for 1,859 yards and 15 touchdowns on a total of 346 carries.  He also caught 10 passes for another 69 yards coming out of the backfield.

Williams is the fifth transfer from a Power Five program to join Houston this offseason, the others being Ole Miss safety Deontay Anderson (HERE), Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady (HERE), Miami linebacker Darrion Owens (HERE) and Utah wide receiver Raelon Singleton (HERE).  Additionally, defensive end Isaiah Chambers transferred in from TCU last August and, after sitting out the 2017 season, will be eligible to play this season as well.

Former OU CB Parrish Cobb sentenced to 18 years for aggravated robbery

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Former Oklahoma cornerback Parrish Cobb was sentenced to 18 years in prison Monday for holding up a Baylor student at gunpoint.

The 20-year-old pleaded guilty, and as part of the plea bargain had to other robbery charges dismissed. A fourth robbery charge remains pending. He was arrested in January 2017 along with co-defendant Ayorinde Jelani Gibson, who will also serve 18 years in prison.

Cobb’s fourth robbery charge came in April 2017, in Norman, while he was free on bond from the Baylor robbery and separate robberies in Waco and Bellmead, Texas.

Cobb, a 4-star recruit, signed with Baylor out of Waco’s La Vega High School, but later forced a transfer to Oklahoma as part of a mass exodus of signees in the wake of Art Briles‘s firing. Cobb made seven tackles in five appearances for the Sooners in 2016.

“Sounds to me that given the opportunities you have had in your life, which I know about, and the mess you have made out of your life, you are fortunate to be getting the deal you are getting,” Judge Ralph Strother told Cobb, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

With the Oklahoma charge still pending, Cobb will be eligible for parole on Monday’s sentence in nine years.

Big 12 announces record $364.87 million in revenue, distributes $36.5 million per school

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Remember when the Big 12 was all doom and gloom about surviving as a conference? You’d never know that by looking at their balance sheet.

Following league-wide meetings in the Dallas area on Friday, the Big 12 announced a record $364.87 million in total revenue for the 2017-18 fiscal year. That includes an impressive $36.5 million per school distribution that doesn’t include so-called “third tier rights” such as money from the Longhorn Network given to Texas (~$15 million) or regional deals with Fox Sports that several other schools like Oklahoma have.

Those figures are firmly middle of the pack for the Power Five, ranking behind the SEC and Big Ten but the distribution per school is several million more than what the Pac-12 and ACC dole out. It helps there’s only 10 members in the conference, which is one reason why the number is so high per school despite taking in far less total revenue than, for example, the Pac-12’s $509 million last year.

All told though, it’s a 6.4 percent increase from last year and would have been even higher had the Sugar Bowl not been a semifinal game in the College Football Playoff — which, according to commissioner Bob Bowlsby, resulted in a roughly $40 million loss that was partially offset by revenue from the first ever Big 12 Championship Game.

Between getting back that bowl money next season and increases in television money coming their way, it goes without saying that another nice increase will be headed toward the schools during the upcoming year. Life, it appears, isn’t so bad as the smallest Power Five league after all as long as those checks keep coming in.