Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

TIME FOR AUTHORITIES TO GET TO BAYLOR

HD's CHIP BROWN, who has covered Texas and the Big 12 for more than 20 years, wants to know what it's going to take for the U.S. attorney's office or the Texas Rangers to be called to Baylor University and put people under oath - with the threat of perjury and jail time - to weed out those who recklessly put students' lives in danger?

What's it going to take for the U.S. attorney's office or the Texas Rangers to be called to Baylor University and put people under oath - with the threat of perjury and jail time - to weed out those who recklessly put students' lives in danger? 

 

I think people thought I was joking when I tweeted on Tuesday that instead of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wanting the Texas Rangers to investigate the whereabouts of Patriots' QB Tom Brady's missing jersey after Super Bowl 51 in Houston - how about Patrick sending the state's elite law enforcement agency to Baylor University?

 

How about the U.S. attorney's office getting to Waco and getting to the bottom of why there was no Title IX coordinator to ensure claims of reports of violence against women on campus  were properly investigated?

 

Why hasn't this already happened?

 

Has a continued lack of transparency by university administrators left those in a position to stand up and say enough is enough in a complete state of numbness?

 

There are alarming, new revelations (horrifying if true) the past two weeks - from a lawsuit filed by an alleged gang-rape victim to damning text messages attributed to former football coach Art Briles. The presidents of the Big 12 are prepared to sanction Baylor, and the school's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is in jeopardy.

 

Things aren't getting better. They're getting worse. 

 

It's time for subpoena power and the threat of jail time for perjury to flesh out any potential coverups by school leaders after female students' lives were put at risk. It's time to bring accountability and truth to Baylor - from the top down. That is owed to those whose lives were turned inside out by the selfish actions of so-called school leaders whose focus is supposed to be on a great student experience - not creating their nightmare.

  

Consider all the unfathomable things we already know about the Baylor situation - including how school senior vice president Reagan Ramsower, who oversees the Baylor police department and Title IX office, hasn't provided more answers - or a resignation. Or how Art Briles' football staff was allowed to remain and coach last year - after Briles' dismissal - despite questions about their involvement in the scandal.

 

But there's more:

 

According to a lawsuit filed Jan. 28, 31 Baylor football players committed 52 rapes during the exact four-year span BU administrators inexplicably went without a federally mandated Title IX coordinator - from 2011-14.

 

The lawsuit was filed by a female former Baylor student who said she was gang-raped by two then-Baylor football players in 2013.

 

Last week, another lawsuit was filed - this one a wrongful termination claim filed by Baylor's former director of football operations, Colin Schillinglaw. The suit lays out text messages attributed to former football coach Art Briles questioning why a Baylor volleyball player claiming she was gang-raped by five BU football players  was hanging around those "bad dudes?"

 

On Tuesday, a group of 14 former Baylor regents sent an open letter criticizing the university's handling of the yearlong, campus-wide sexual assault scandal and suggested resignations of some current regents may be warranted.

 

"We have grave concerns about the recent actions - and inactions - of the Baylor Board of Regents," said the letter from the 14 former BU regents.

 

Among those concerns is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) putting Baylor under "warning" status - " ... further indication the Regent Board is not providing the governance leadership that a major university board should be providing."

 

On Wednesday, Big 12 presidents said they will withhold 25 percent of Baylor's share of league revenue until the school hires an independent, third party to review its "institutional governance" in the wake of the scandal and turns in those findings.

 

Last year, the Big 12 distributed roughly $31 million per school.

 

Big 12 sources told me Wednesday this is a critical, "very public" step for normally risk-averse presidents - much like an employer documenting poor job performance - that could lead to more revenue reduction or even, possibly, Baylor being voted out of the conference. It would take eight of the nine voting conference members (BU's vote wouldn't be counted) to remove Baylor from the Big 12.

 

"If we had opted to expand, there might already have been a vote to remove Baylor from the conference," one high-ranking official in the Big 12 told HornsDigest.com. "There is all kinds of reason for skepticism in terms of what we've been told by Baylor about how things are being handled."

 

So, a few more things for federal authorities or Texas Rangers to consider:

 

* A key administrator (Ramsower) in charge of the biggest questions during the scandal is still in charge. 

 

* A group of 14 former Baylor regents this week called on the school's current regents to release "ALL of the facts from the Pepper Hamilton investigation" and for any regents who have "acted inappropriately" to step down. 

 

* The university's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is now in jeopardy after being put into "warning" status.

 

* And here's the most damning information:

 

Sources close to the situation told HD there were regents at the time who were involved in keeping the Title IX coordinator position at Baylor vacant from 2011-14  - in violation of federal regulations - to set up former school president Kenneth Starr to be fired with Ramsower as Starr's replacement. 

 

The sources said Starr retaliated against those trying to oust him by commissioning the Pepper Hamilton law firm to investigate the school's mishandling of rape claims. Starr's hope was that Pepper Hamilton would expose the criminal activity of the high-powered school officials trying to run Starr off, sources said. Regent leadership responded to Starr's commissioning of Pepper Hamilton by telling the law firm not to put together any written reports about its findings, sources told HD.

 

Baylor officials have said there are no written reports about the Pepper Hamilton investigation to protect victims from having information released to the public that could reveal their identities. Sources told HD there's no written reports about the Pepper Hamilton findings to avoid information getting out about the criminal decision to leave the Title IX coordinator job vacant in an attempt to oust Starr.

 

Now that a former Baylor student alleging she was gang-raped by two BU football players in 2013 says in a lawsuit that 31 Bears' football players committed 52 rapes while the school purposely had no one looking out for the well-being of those female victims - isn't it clear we are already overdue for authorities to put people under oath and get the truth?

 

It was less than 15 years ago that former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss attempted to cover up the circumstances of the murder of former BU basketball player Patrick Dennehy at the hands of Bears' teammate Carlton Dotson. The victims this time were female Baylor students. Was a selfish plot to oust the school's president to blame? Is it being covered up? 

 

How much more pain and suffering by the victims and how many threats to Baylor's very survival have to surface before an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office or the Texas Rangers finally weeds out those who recklessly put students' lives in danger? 

 

How much longer before truth, transparency and a student-first commitment are restored at Baylor University?

 


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