Sources: BU Regents Vote To Remove Starr As President

The Baylor board of regents on Tuesday removed Kenneth Starr as school president and chancellor after six years and offered him a leadership position in the BU law school, sources told HornsDigest.com.

The three dozen members of the Baylor regents board are ousting Starr - not football coach Art Briles - for failed leadership during the ongoing scandal over how the school handled reports of rape and assault made against five BU football players - two of whom (Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu) were convicted of raping Baylor co-eds, sources close to the situation told HornsDigest.com.

Baylor University spokeswoman Lori Fogleman released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying:

"The Baylor Board of Regents continues its work to review the findings of the Pepper Hamilton investigation, and we anticipate further communication will come after the Board completes its deliberations. 

"We will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources. But when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3."

Reagan Ramsower, Baylor's senior vice president of operations and chief financial officer, whose oversight includes Baylor's campus law enforcement, is a leading candidate to succeed Starr on an interim basis, the sources told HD.

Ramsower would serve as the school's interim president until a national search could be conducted, sources said.

One source said Starr, an attorney and former judge, would be reassigned to a new role in the Baylor law school. Starr was the dean of Pepperdine's law school when Baylor hired him six years ago.

But it was unclear early Tuesday if Starr would want the new law school post on the Waco campus or if he'd simply want a financial settlement and to part ways, sources said.

A source close to the situation said Starr arrived at his meeting with regents on Tuesday morning "lawyered up" and may not go quietly. A source close to Starr raised questions about how much of the complaints against BU football players actually got to the president's desk versus being handled underneath him without his knowledge.

A source close to the regents board said Starr was removed as president because he was in a position to review associate dean of student conduct Bethany McCraw, who fielded many of the rape and assault complaints from female Baylor students, and Starr took no action. 

The only thing that is clear, according to sources, is that Starr - not Briles - is going to be seen as the fall guy for the school's inaction after at least six Baylor female students reported they were raped or assaulted by BU football players from 2009 through April 3, 2016.

In 2014, former Baylor defensive end Tevin Elliott ended up accused by five women of one assault and four rapes, facing formal charges on two of them, including one against a former member of Baylor's equestrian team. Two of the students who accused him did not attend Baylor. 

Elliott is serving a 20-year prison sentence after being convicted in January 2014. In August 2015, Baylor DE Sam Ukwuachu, who transferred from Boise State and never played for BU, was convicted of raping a female Baylor soccer player.

The move to oust/reassign Starr was led by regents chairman Richard Willis, sources said, and comes before the regents board addresses the findings of the Pepper Hamilton law firm. The law firm was commissioned by Baylor to review its handling of the rape and assault allegations against female students that have increasingly gained the attention of national media.

Willis has said the regents board was briefed on the law firm's findings but it could be "several weeks" before the regents make any final conclusions. That's because regents want to ask their own questions, Willis said.

Sources said Briles, who has revived a moribund football program by winning at least 10 games in four of the past five years, including two Big 12 titles and a Heisman Trophy (Robert Griffin III in 2011), will continue as football coach, barring any evidence turning up that Briles was engaged in a coverup. 

With momentum created by Briles' success, Baylor's facilities have been upgraded to perhaps the best in the Big 12, including a new football stadium in 2014.

The board appears ready to let go of some Baylor personnel over the handling of rape and assault claims made by BU co-eds, sources said. But the regents board is mixed on the fate of BU athletic director Ian McCaw, one source close to the situation told HD on Monday. Although, another source said they expected McCaw to continue on as AD as long as no evidence of a coverup surfaced.

"The feeling is if the board got rid of Art (Briles), they'd be sitting in a $300 million mausoleum instead of that new football stadium," one source close to the situation told HD.

 


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