Friday, March 16, 2018

Latest Sexual Assault Allegations illustrate Just How Little Baylor has Learned

"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
1 Thessalonians 5:22 (kjv)

[Note: One of these days, we need to finish writing our review of the book "Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University amid College Football's Sexual Assault Crisis, but for now just know that the authors of that book are also the authors of the article quoted below and that they've been doing PHENOMENAL investigative work on this story for the past three years.]

We learned a couple weeks ago that there's a brand new (actually 5 months old at this point) investigation related to sexual assault by members of the Baylor University Football program.  The alleged incident occurred on Nov. 12, 2017, well after the new university president's mea culpa tour.  Without pre-determining the outcome of the investigation, what's astonishing is how much the optics of the situation continue to stink.

A note on format: Both block quotes are from Wednesday's ESPN report; we'll post thematically, while interspersing our own thoughts.

Baylor's FAILURE to inform the public:
The three players tied to the sexual assault investigation have been completely separated from the team since the allegations were first made in November, the spokesman said. Although their separation is related to the ongoing sexual assault investigation, the school has not indicated what their alleged role might have been in the reported assault.


It is unknown whether those three players also are among the four alleged suspects named in a police report regarding the alleged incident. According to a Baylor University Police Department incident report obtained by Outside the Lines, two female Baylor students told police that they were sexually assaulted at University Parks Apartments in Waco, Texas, during the early-morning hours of Nov. 12, only hours after Baylor lost to Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The two women reported the incident to Baylor police on Nov. 17, according to the report.
  • Baylor knew about the alleged incident on Nov. 17 yet, despite all of the horrifying things that occurred on their campus between 2011-2015, they failed to inform the public on their own.
  • Quietly suspending players who had been accused of sexual assault for "undisclosed violations of team rules" was a big part of the problem under the previous administration.
  • The public wasn't informed about the latest allegation until a press report FOUR MONTHS AFTER THE FACT.  Even then, it took Baylor ANOTHER MONTH before they discussed it publicly.  So, we're looking at five months between the alleged incident and it's first public discussion.
The Clueless Coach:
[Head Baylor Football Coach Matt] Rhule said he was confident the investigation was being handled properly and that he didn't know much about it.

"The people that do this for a living, they handle the investigation," he said. "... I don't know much about the case, and I think that's really a good thing, because I probably really shouldn't know much about it as the football coach."


"These are the issues everywhere. This isn't a Baylor thing. This is an 'our world' thing. And so I willingly answer those questions," he said. "...These are major issues, and so I don't think any of us should run away from them ...This is what we all need, should be talking about."

A reporter referenced two members of Rhule's staff who were fired near the start of his tenure. One was a coach arrested in connection with a prostitution sting and another was a staff member who reportedly sent inappropriate text messages to a teenager. The reporter asked, "Are you worried at all about the culture of the program?"

"No, not at all," Rhule said without hesitation. "Things happen all the time, everywhere. You can either hide from it and try to hide it from all you guys so it looks like everything is great, and you end up not doing the right thing. Or you can be very transparent about things, knowing that you open yourself up for criticism."

"As you look at the scandals and things that have happened other places, it's always been when people are afraid to handle what's happened," he said, adding that the incidents with his former staff and players do not indicate a cultural problem and that they were quickly and properly addressed.


"People are going to say things, and I get all that, but that doesn't mean there's a bad culture," Rhule said. "There's a bad culture when kids do things and grown-ups hide them. And nobody's hiding anything here. And so that's why I know that we're doing things right."
  • This has to be one of the most astonishingly un-self aware, head in the sand, statements we've ever read in our life.
  • If you are a university with Baylor's history, and another alleged incident occurs, one would think that the head coach would be receiving regular updates on the investigation.
    • While we're on the subject, why wasn't anyone from the Title IX office present at that press conference?!?
  • "And nobody's hiding anything here"... see our comment above about it taking five months between the alleged incident and the first public discussion.
Bottom Line: For an institution that squandered every last bit of benefit of the doubt several years ago, Baylor's got some explaining to do.  And, right now, they ain't doing it.  Considering Baylor's recent track record, "trust us" doesn't cut it.

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