By Ken Reed
Following a long sexual assault scandal, and pressured by ESPN’s Outside the Lines and other media outlets, Baylor has fired head football coach Art Briles and demoted school president Kenneth Starr. (For some reason, Starr is being allowed to stay on as chancellor and law professor. How rich is that?)
It appears Baylor learned absolutely nothing from its 2003 basketball scandal.
In 2003, basketball player Carlton Dotson shot and killed teammate Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss, the Baylor basketball coach at the time, then tried to cover up illegal payments to players by portraying Dennehy as a drug dealer.
It was a classic case of win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) thinking and policies. Baylor, long a laughingstock in major college football and men’s basketball, hired Bliss to win and win quickly. Bliss did that but at the cost of his and the conservative Christian school’s soul.
A few years later, Baylor hired football coach Art Briles to turn a bottom-feeder football program into a winner. Win Briles did but he gambled on players with questionable character and shaky pasts to do it. Some of his recruits had been booted off the team and out of school by other universities. The result has been a slew of sexual assault charges, arrests and convictions.
Briles was being paid $6 million to run an out-of-control football factory at the Baptist university. His team’s win-loss success led to the building of a new football stadium at Baylor with high-revenue luxury suites and club seats.
That stadium was being built while some deplorable things were taking place on on campus and in the athletic department. One of the key findings from an independent report on the Baylor football scandal was the following:
“Actions by University administrators directly discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
That’s just sick.
Did Briles and Starr, and other coaches and administrators, ever stop to think that the young female victims are somebody’s daughters and sisters? Or did wins on the football field supersede violent sexual activity by the players? With today’s news about Briles, Starr and others that question appears to have been answered.
In a bit of irony here, Starr was the lead investigator into former president Bill Clinton’s sexual improprieties.
Yes, there have been other ugly scandals in big-time college sports. But it is shocking that Baylor is the home of this ugly scandal a little more than a decade after one of college basketball’s worst scandals rocked the Waco campus.
Hypocrisy runs amok in Waco, Texas. Here’s Baylor University’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.
Given the systemic, institutional breakdown in this case (and the basketball scandal before it), it’s clear Baylor is failing at its mission.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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