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 #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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