By Ken Reed
As we’ve pointed out many times on this site, and in my book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan, virtually all problems in sports can be traced to either win-at-all-costs (WAAC) or profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities and policies.
Baylor University is providing a case study in WAACYness and warped priorities.
Only days after head football coach Art Briles, athletic director Ian McCaw, and president Ken Starr were pushed out of their jobs for their roles in the sexual assault and domestic violence scandals in the football program, athletic department and university as a whole, a campaign — led by some prominent Baylor boosters — to reinstate Briles as Baylor head coach for the 2017 season has gained enough momentum that the possibility will be formally addressed by the school’s board of regents. Under Briles’ watch, multiple football players have faced sexual assault charges at the Baptist school in Waco, Texas.
Bob Simpson, co-owner of MLB’s Texas Rangers and a prominent Baylor donor, said he would welcome Briles’ return.
“We’d like to see that,” said Simpson. Simpson’s name is on the building that houses the school’s athletic offices.
Two former Baylor regents, Dary Stone and Gale Galloway, have also endorsed Briles’ return to the Baylor sidelines.
“One of the finest men I’ve known is Art Briles,” said Galloway. “He certainly deserves to be reinstated. This [his firing] is heartbreaking and an overreaction.”
One of the finest men? Overreaction?!
In an investigative report about the sexual assault scandal at Baylor by the law firm Pepper Hamilton, the football program specifically, and the athletic department as a whole, was highly criticized.
In the report’s “finding of facts,” athletic department coaches and administrators “failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the university.”
Two Baylor football players have been convicted of sexual assault since 2014. Another was arrested on sexual assault charges in April. Other players have been named in Waco police reports alleging sexual and physical violence. According to police reports, at least some coaches and Baylor officials knew of the allegations. The players did not miss time for disciplinary reasons.
Briles also had a history at Baylor of taking players that had been kicked off the rosters of other schools for disciplinary reasons.
But for Simpson, Stone and Galloway, success on the football scoreboard apparently trumps the safety of students on campus. Over the last five seasons, Briles has posted 50 wins and two Big 12 titles. For some supporters of Briles, those numbers are enough to brush aside a football culture that looks the other way from cases of players sexually abusing fellow students at Baylor.
“No one respects womanhood more than Art,” said Galloway.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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