The Baylor Football Scandal: A Sickening Case Study in Human Indecency

usa-today-8943624.0When will people decide to behave like human beings?

When will the human element outweigh money and greed and selfishness?

If you look at the sickening, disgusting situation at Baylor University, the answer is, sadly, not any time soon.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the scandal that has rocked NCAA football, here’s the CliffsNotes:

Baylor President Kenneth Starr (yes, Ken Starr from back in the Bill Clinton years) was relieved of his duties as president of the Baptist university after an independent law firm reviewed Baylor’s handling of multiple sexual assault cases involving football players. More than half a dozen football players have been charged with some form of sexual assault since head coach Art Briles’s arrival in Waco in 2007. The Philadelphia-based firm cited “a lack of institutional management and control [by Baylor] at a number of levels” in it’s review. Athletic Director Ian McCaw resigned (not fired); and Briles was placed on “indefinite suspension with intent to terminate”. (Intent is a funny word, isn’t it? I intended to clean the storage closet in the dark basement last Saturday morning instead of playing golf. See? Intentions are funny like that.)

That pretty much sums up the situation without getting into the details of how the university and the football big-wigs worked behind the scenes to coerce victims and witnesses into “changing their minds” and recanting their accusations; how coaches, including Briles himself, went forward recruiting players with sexual assaults on their records; how the university accepted transfer students who were dismissed from other football programs amidst accusations of sexual misconduct. Yeah, who wants to get into all that, right? Never let details ruin a good story – or a good football program.

Once brought to light, it appeared, maybe – for a split second – that humanity would prevail. That once found out, the Baylor board of regents would clean house and fire everyone and anyone associated with this despicable cover-up. For a split-second it did. A split-second.

Art-briles-2Now come reports that powerful and, oh yeah, ultra-rich Baylor alumni and donors are clamoring for the reinstatement of the head football coach. Briles, since being at the helm, has posted more consecutive winning seasons than the program ever had before. Three straight seasons of 10-plus wins will make people do funny things – and by funny I mean stupid, selfish, inhumane things. Briles, and the football program’s national success in the past half a decade, has launched Baylor’s revenue into the top 25 in the country. To compare, Baylor ranked nearly last in their 12-team conference in revenue just 6 short years ago. Now, they sit on mountains of money – brought in largely by the football program – atop the conference as one of 28 schools in the nation to haul in over $100 million dollars this past year.

Winning and making money go a long way in the south when it comes to football. Winning and making money go a really long way at a southern Baptist university in Texas when it comes to football. And there’s probably nothing more important than winning and making money when it comes to the NCAA. That’s exactly why none of us should be surprised at all by the fact that a bunch of millionaires and billionaires don’t want the successes to end – and will do anything to ensure it doesn’t. Look – the Athletic Director wasn’t even dismissed. He resigned!!! Ken Starr was fired from his post as President of Baylor but somehow is still employed as a law professor. Really?

At some point, human beings who act on conscience and common sense must step forward and arise from this mess. Ken Starr is not likely to be teaching ethics or moral principles in his law classes. If he was, there are a few people who ought to be registering.

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Author: Brian Goodwin

An educator for 15 years. I have a passion for sports and a passion for writing about sports. I'm very excited to run this blog and have conversations with people about relevant topics, mostly pertaining to sports but also in all aspects of life.

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