If Ohio State‘s football team got the discipline they received for “Tattoo Gate”, then the worst is yet to come for Baylor University.
Former Baylor University head football coach Art Briles was the first casualty at the university following a scathing report that chronicled a systemic failure to discipline players and protect the victims of sexual assault perpetrated by those players. University President Ken Starr, yes that Ken Starr, was also relieved of his duties and the Athletic Director, Ian McCaw, might be next.
I want to start by stating some very clear ideas first. I believe in due process and being innocent until proven guilty.
I also believe in following the process and in allowing investigations to run their course. Holding back snap judgments are a must and in exercising restraint before the facts are laid bare.
However, the facts have been laid out clearly and a pattern has emerged. The University of Baylor commissioned a report by the law firm Pepper Hamilton and found the following:
- Failure to Prioritize, Recognize, Implement and Resource Title IX
- Many Factors Impeded Effective Implementation of Title IX
- Inadequate Institutional Response to Sexual Violence under Title IX/VAWA
- Barriers to Implementation of Title IX within Baylor’s Football Program
- Failure to Implement or Follow Consistent Transfer Protocols
None of this should be a surprise to a coach that recruited former defensive lineman Shawn Oakman, who was arrested while at Baylor and dismissed from Penn State for inappropriate conduct with female students.
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It should not surprise anyone after former defensive end Samuel Ukwuachu was targeted following his dismissal from Boise State. He was dismissed after sexually assaulting a female student and then was convicted of the same offense while at Baylor before ever playing a down.
How should Ohio State fans feel about what is yet to come? Former Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel was excommunicated from college football and has not coached again since “Tattoo Gate”.
Tressel was given a five-year suspension and multiple former Ohio State players, including then-quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were forced out of the program. This was all over exchanging items that belonged to the players for body art.
When viewing the Baylor controversy through Ohio State lenses, how does this make any sense thus far? The NCAA will absolutely launch their own inquiry and will no doubt have further punishment to hand down.
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That said, if a handful of players and a head coach can be forced out of football, both Briles and Baylor should be terrified of what comes next. Getting fired/deciding to make the coaching change right now will be the least of their concerns. Ohio State’s situation surrounding tattoos for memorabilia was wrong, but not nearly in the same ballpark as what has happened in Waco, Texas.
Ohio State’s situation surrounding tattoos for memorabilia was wrong, but not nearly in the same ballpark as what has happened in Waco, Texas. In light of the recent events at Baylor, it’s worth noting the following (according to a 2015 Washington Post Report):
- 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while on campus, 14% of which while incapacitated
- A combined 47% of respondents were assaulted by someone they knew very well or fairly well
- 71% informed someone about the incident, but only 12% told campus or civil authorities
- 89% reported that no one was held responsible or punished for the incident
So far, one person has been fired, another simply demoted, and a third not being held responsible at all. Tressel and others with Ohio State ties who were ran out of the game entirely for tattoos and autographs.
Briles may have been fired, but the NCAA needs to step up. Otherwise, fans not just in Columbus, Ohio, but across the country, will need an explanation about how the NCAA evaluates what is an “infraction” and what is simply “boys will be boys”. This writer, in particular, is going to be watching very closely.