Baylor has been besieged by scandal as a result of sexual assault allegations leveled against players during the Art Briles regime. One player, former Bears linebacker Tevin Elliott, has been jailed, and there have been a total of six Title IX lawsuits. In the latest lawsuit, a female athlete has claimed she was a victim of gang rape at the hands of football players.
Now comes word, from the Kansas City Star, that the Big 12 conference may have a way of dealing with Baylor that’s more extreme than the death penalty — it could kick the Bears out of the conference.
The Star quoted the Big 12 bylaws, which say:
“Each Member accepts the primary responsibility for the administration of rules and regulations, for investigating known or alleged violations at that institution, and for taking prompt and effective corrective actions where violations have occurred.”
There are real questions whether Baylor has met the “prompt and effective corrective actions” criteria, given the history.
A law firm hired by Baylor found “institutional failures at every level.” Baylor fired Briles as football coach, demoted president Ken Starr to chancellor, and athletic director Ian McCaw also resigned. There have been repeated claims that coaches were alerted to the alleged assaults and did nothing, and ESPN reported that that the university didn’t investigate a sexual assault report against two football players.
The latest lawsuit has renewed calls for the death penalty for Baylor football. But that would harm the rest of the league since each team would lose a conference game, and it could be difficult to fill that spot.
As the Star noted, the easiest option for the Big 12 may be to kick out Baylor and bring in another school.