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ESPN covered this story much better than I could hope to do in this post. So I'll just summarize right quick, and try and to start a discussion over covering up sexual assault and domestic violence cases for football programs and players on campuses across the country, in light what just happened in Waco Tx.
First off, it's hard to overstate what Art Briles did for the Baylor Bear's football program. He took them for losers to contenders. For real. 13 years without even a bowl appearance. 6-5 record average over a 21 season stretch. Then enter Briles. 5 years brought in 50 wins (50-11) and 2 Big 12 conference championships. Unheard of for Baylor.
Brought Briles to national acclaim as a coaching genius in college football, and put Baylor on the map. Gave them the funds to buy a brand new stadium too; that's how much his success turned around that program.
And then report after report, after report, of sexual assault and domestic abuse cases against Baylor's football players started to surface, with headlines like "Investigation Finds Baylor Made Life Hell For Sexual Assault Accusers". It started being called an epidemic on campus. Everyone nationally began to also understand the extent to which Baylor's program leaders went to cover all this up too. Both the assault accusation headlines and subsequent cover up details went viral.
So.... Baylor is a Christian school, ironically marred in an extremely terrible slew of sexual and domestic abuse cases against their star athletes, who are (ideally) supposed to exemplify the very essence of their school's integrity.
What's their college's Mission Statement? - The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.
In no world can nothing be done to the leaders in a sport's program that routinely exhibit behavior of secrecy and cover up. But that's been the case all over the place in college football. Players and coaches are just too valuable to be brought down from these kinds of stories. Until now, maybe?
Baylor fired their star coach Thursday. As the ESPN article outlines, this is unprecedented. And could change the way colleges handle these kinds of scandals going forward. I truly hope so. Being successful for playing a game really well is in no way ever worthy of a free pass from real world consequences when something terrible has happened. Especially sexual assault. And battery. If you try and cover it up and are found out, you should be fired. Every time and always. Hopefully this will be the new standard, and not a surprising headline exception to the perverse norm.