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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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